Mother’s Day reminds us of the many ways mothers impact our lives. These books about mothers use humor, suspense, and a sense of giving to prompt readers to honor their own mothers, not only on May 11, but year round.
“A Suitcase Surprise for Mommy” by Cat Cora, Illustrated by Joy Allen, 2011, Dial Books for Young Readers, ages 4-7.
Zoran’s mommy must travel for her job, and when she is gone he misses her so much. His mommy suggests he find something special she can take with her on the trip. Zoran desperately searches for just the right item, but at first it’s difficult for him to let go of his belongs. When he finds a special item, Zoran and Mommy know she will hold it close to her heart on her journey. The author is Cat Cora, an Iron Chef on the Food Network. She and her son started this same practice of sharing something to stay connected when they had to be apart.
“A Gift for Mama” by Linda Ravin Lodding, Illustrated by Alison Jay, 2014, Alfred A. Knopf, ages 4-7.
Oskar hopes to find a perfect gift for his mother’s birthday, this turns out to be a difficult decision. He purchases a yellow rose, then trades this for a paint brush, then a piece of music, then a book, and the hunt for the perfect gift continues throughout the village. The illustrator uses distinctive crackle-glazed artwork to create an old-world look that adds to the simplicity of this touching story.
“ Your Mommy Was Just Like You” by Kelly Bennett, Illustrated by David Walker, 2011, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, ages 3-7.
A grandmother shares photos and stories about her daughter’s childhood with her granddaughter. Through the handing down of these memories, the young girl begins to understand what her mother was like as a young girl. This understanding brings the three generations closer together through the bonds of shared stories. Darling illustrations and a simple text will make this a favorite with young children.
“M.O.M.* (Mom Operating Manual)” by Doreen Cronin & Laura Cornell, 2011, Atheneum Books, ages 5-8.
Since mothers are the “most advanced human models on the planet”, they must be given regular maintenance if mothers are to perform at their optimal levels. Maintenance includes sleep, nutrition, exercise, and water. If a mother is not getting enough SNEW, she may need a nap, another cup of coffee, a dinner alone in the garage, or a good run after the school bus to deliver a lunch box. Written like an owner’s manual to a car, this hilarious book uses humor to show the super-human feats mothers go through to provide for their family. It is suggested that if you are the first one home and detect a mother malfunction, warn the others with the secret signal, then break out the survival kit and hold tight until Mom resets.
“Mars Needs Moms!” by Berkeley Breathed, 2007, Philomel Books, ages 5-8.
Milo wonders what is so special about mothers, especially since his mother makes him take out the trash and eat his veggies. According to Milo, mothers are “giant, summer-stealing, child-working, perfumy garden goblins”. But when Milo’s mother is kidnapped by Martian raiders, he comes to her rescue. The author/illustrator, Berkeley Breathed, is known for his work as the creator of the comic strip “Bloom County” and as a Pulitzer Prize winner for cartooning in 1987. Comical soft-toned color illustrations are juxtaposed with black and white line drawings that set contrast between humor and suspense. “Mars Needs Moms!” was released as a movie in 2011.
Reviewed by Elizabeth Dobler