Happy Mother's Day!

Moms (and Dads) are often central figures in picture books. Whether we're portrayed as hedgehogs, bears, pigs or people, we get lots of page time and rightly so. On this Mother's Day, I want to call your attention to two new picture books with wonderful mothers, as well as share some of my favorite picture book moms...

Nikki McClure, who illustrated Cynthia Rylant's great book, All in a Day, is back with Mama, Is It Summer Yet? McClure's illustrations are made from painstakingly intricate paper cuts and have a retro feel to them. This could be because her illustrations are made using only an X-acto knife and a single sheet of paper!

Mama, Is It Summer Yet? tells the story of a little boy repeatedly asking the title question. His mother always responds, "Not yet," but goes on to point out the signs that it is near. From the buds on the trees to the squirrel's new nest to a soft ground ready for seed to the triumphant plucking of strawberries at the end of the book, McClure draws our attention to nature with her simple words and exquisite pictures. This is the kind of book your little ones will want to hear over and over, and you won't mind a bit.

A Boy Had a Mother Who Bought Him a Hat by Karla Kuskin is one long rhyming sing-song poem that tells a silly story. With pictures by Kevin Hawkes, who also illustrated one of my favorite picture books, Weslandia, by Paul Fleischman, A Boy Had a Mother Who BoughtHim a Hat follows the escapades of a little boy who's mother buys him all sorts of silly, and sometimes useful, things.

Although there are no parents around in her wildly popular Max & Ruby books, when it comes to picture book parents, Rosemary Wells is one of the best authors around. She has a way with creating lovingly thoughtful parents who give their children roots and wings. In Hazel's Amazing Mother, which, sadly seems to be out of print, Hazel's mother sends her out to the market to buy treats for the picnic they are planning for later in the day. When Hazel gets lost on the way home and teased by bullies, the worst seems near. Her beloved doll, Eleanor, wearing a new dress and new sky-blue silk shoes, both made by her mother, becomes the target of the bullies and her clothes, shoes, button eyes and even and stuffing are scattered to the wind. But, Hazel's amazing mother saves the day!

In Timothy Goes to School, Timothy's mother patiently supports and encourages him (always with a homemade baked goodie in hand) as he tries to fit in at his new school.

My Mom by Anthony Browne: Book CoverMy Dad by Anthony Browne: Book Cover
Anthony Browne, who will be featured in a review in a couple of weeks, is an amazing illustrator, fascinated with patterns, the master works of great painters and primates. However, his it is only his love of patterns that shows up in My Mom, My Dad and Piggybook. The Mom and Dad books are sweet and short. Mom is as beautiful as a butterfly and as comft as an arm chair. She could be an astronaut or a ballet dancer and she is a good because she can make sad kids happy. Piggybook is a story with a message, however. When Mr Piggot and his two sons expect mom to wait on them and clean up after them, even after she has been at work all day, she knows something has to change. She leaves a note telling them they are pigs and disappears for a few days. While she is gone, they really do turn into pigs. The tell-tale signs of this change are foreshadowed throughout the book with piggy faces hidden on doorknobs, faucet handles, salt and pepper shakers and in the wallpaper and upholstery. Mom returns and the guys clean up their act and mom is happy. The book ends with the line, "Mom was happy, too. She fixed the car."
Piggybook by Anthony Browne: Item Cover

And, finally, from one of my favorite artists, Marla Frazee, two superb books with modern moms trying to do their best...

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From the amazing Mem Fox comes Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild. Harriet is your average 3 - 5 year old. She doesn't mean to make messes and break things, but, when mom is in the other room, that is exactly what happens. Mom uses gentle tones and kind words to express her frustration with Harriet, but, as the mishaps mount, so does the tension in Mom's voice. A ripped pillow and a room full of feathers sends her over the top and, even though she doesn't mean to, she yells. Harriet and mom share apologies, hugs and laughs as they clean up the mess.

I've mentioned Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman so many times on my blog I'm sure I don't need to say a thing about it again, but IT'S MOTHER'S DAY and any mom who has made a meal for a child will love it!!!

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