Papa’s Home

Little, Brown. May 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316427838.
PreS-K–A delectable story featuring a bear family of Papa, his preschool age son, and Aunt Jessie. Soman (Ladybug Girl, Three Bears in a Boat) tells the story in a simple dialogue between Papa and son over the course of two days. The two spend the first day making waffles, going to the park, and on through dinner, a bath, and bedtime stories, all the while preparing for tomorrow—the day Aunt Jessie will come to take care of the little bear when Papa is away. With gentle reassurances and through plenty of developmentally typical questions and answers, Papa promises that all will be well when he’s gone “because Aunt Jessie loves you.” A full palette of watercolor tones enhanced with pen-and-ink detail adds depth to the soothing mood of the story. Text color alternates between forest green and periwinkle to indicate father/son dialogue. The little bear’s day with Aunt Jessie is recounted on a wordless spread comprised of eight individual pictures. With an eye toward realistic and sometimes humorous detail, this book will soothe parents and children facing uncertainties about separation.
VERDICT Reminiscent of David McPhail’s work, but with contemporary sensibilities, this charming and generous book belongs in any collection serving younger readers and their parents.

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