Pop’s Perfect Present

Holt. May 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250819444.
K-Gr 3–A young girl decides she wants to give her father a present, but, “It had to be awesome and perfect. Like him.” She decides that the best present would be to plan the perfect day where the two of them do something that her dad loves. They try fishing, playing baseball, making chili, writing music, riding bikes, and flying kites, but nothing goes the way she wants. She feels “abashed and ashamed” that the day is a failure. Of course, her Pop explains that getting to do all of these things with her that day made it “the best one that I’ve ever had!” The story is sweet, has adorable illustrations, and communicates a nice lesson for dads and children. The mother does not appear in the text or the illustrations, which is a welcome variation that will allow children who live with their fathers or who split time between parents to relate to the child-father relationship in the story. The main character has blonde hair, large purple glasses, and freckles; her father and other people depicted reflect a diverse community.
VERDICT Children will be drawn to the rhyming text, and the illustrations create an environment that most students will be able to connect with; however, the book’s theme lacks uniqueness or significance. A “like to have” title rather than a “must-have” one.

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