Quintero, Isabel. My Papi Has a Motorcycle. Zeke Peña, Illus. Picture Book. Kokila, 05/2019. 40pp. $17.99. 978-0-525-55341-0. OUTSTANDING. GRADES K-3.
In the author’s note at the end of My Papi Has a Motorcycle, Isabel Quintero describes the book as “a love letter to both my father…and to Corona, California,” and it is. Zeke Peña’s digitally painted illustrations are bright and complex, evoking comics and childhood idylls. Quintero’s text captures both the breathless enthusiasm of childhood and the warm reflection of adulthood. Together the words and illustrations follow a summer evening’s motorcycle ride through a close-knit community while celebrating father/daughter relationships and the feeling of home that can be rooted in childhood memories. Many of Quintero’s memories may particularly call up that sense of home for those Californians reading her book. That said, whether readers are Californian or not, Quintero and Peña have worked together on a picture book love letter. Though complex groups of smaller illustrations and sometimes dense text make this a less than ideal choice for most storytime settings, it would work well for lap reading. My Papi Has a Motorcycle would be a welcome addition to picture book collections in classrooms and libraries generally and in California’s in particular. This book contains California-specific content.
Janine deManda, San Francisco Public Library