Review of Daddy & Me, Side by Side

Daddy & Me, Side by Side Daddy & Me, Side by Side
by Pierce Freelon; illus. by Nadia Fisher
Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp.
5/23    9780316055864    $18.99

Freelon’s (Daddy-Daughter Day) quiet picture book tells of an African American father and son on a camping trip. The two wake up in their tent on a chilly morning and walk to the lake. They catch big-mouth bass that they grill for dinner, then roast marshmallows and catch fireflies under the night sky. Throughout the day, they remember Pop-Pop, the boy’s late grandfather, who took the boy’s father to the same camping spot when he was a child. Fisher punctuates scenes in the present with flashbacks showing the boy’s father enjoying similar outdoor experiences with Pop-Pop, the past indicated by lines of wind and swirling leaves. The boy admits in a whisper, “I miss Pop-Pop,” and the dad replies, “We feel what we feel. It’s okay to let it out.” Fisher’s digital illustrations capture the closeness of this family as they express their love for each other and the outdoors. A very welcome addition to the growing number of children’s books about Black families enjoying nature.

From the July/August 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Dr. Michelle H. Martin
Michelle H. Martin
Dr. Michelle H. Martin is the Beverly Cleary Professor for Children & Youth Services in the Information School at the University of Washington in Seattle.

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