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Friday, May 11, 2012

Celebrating Moms

Me and my mom, 1970

"Most of all the other 
beautiful things in life 
come by twos and threes, 
by dozens and hundreds.  
Plenty of roses, stars, sunsets, 
rainbows, brothers and sisters, 
aunts and cousins, 
comrades and friends - 
but only one mother 
in the whole world."  

~ Kate Douglas Wiggin

I had originally planned to feature books about Mother's Day in this post.  We don't own any, but I knew our library had several picture books on the topic.  However, when I visited the library at the beginning of this week, I realized I was too late -- all of the Mother's Day books had already been checked out!  (That's what I get for procrastinating....)  I still wanted to celebrate motherhood, so I decided to share a few books about moms in general instead, some that were on our shelves here at home, and two that I found at the library.

Is Your Mama a Llama?,
written by Deborah Guarino
and illustrated by Steven Kellogg, 1989... 

Using rhymes and riddles, this story follows Lloyd the llama as he visits his friends and learns about their mamas.  All three of my kids loved this book when they were little, and I loved reading it to them.  We especially liked the sweet pictures of all the baby animals and their mothers.


Are You My Mother?,
written and illustrated by P.D. Eastman, 1960...
I wrote about this book in a previous post.


I Love You the Purplest,
written by Barbara M. Joosse
and illustrated by Mary Whyte, 1996... 

Two very different brothers and their mother head out for an evening of fishing.  Later, at bedtime, the boys ask their mother who she loves best.  She explains that she loves quiet and thoughtful Julian "the bluest", while she loves energetic, lively Max "the reddest".  Together, she loves them "the purplest".  

I believe this heartwarming book does a wonderful job of explaining how mothers (and fathers, too) love each of their children for the unique individuals that they are.  It is particularly reassuring for children with one or more siblings.  My kids and I also enjoy the soft watercolor illustrations of the lake and the surrounding woods -- they remind us of camping in the Boundary Waters.


written and illustrated by Janell Cannon, 1993... 

In this story, the baby fruit bat Stellaluna has two mothers.  First there is the loving Mother Bat.  When the two are attacked by an owl, however, Mother Bat drops Stellaluna and she falls headfirst into a bird's nest, landing among three baby birds.  Mama Bird adopts the bat, even though she doesn't approve of some of the things Stellaluna does -- like hanging upside down by her feet or making faces when Mama Bird brings her bugs to eat.  Finally, the birds and Stellaluna are old enough to fly.  When she leaves the nest, the young fruit bat is unexpectedly reunited with Mother Bat, who survived the attack after all.  Happy to be with her mother and return to her bat ways, Stellaluna continues to be close to her bird family.  At the end of the book, Cannon provides some basic facts about bats.

My parents gave this book (which came with a tiny bat finger puppet) to my daughter Emmalie when she was three or four. Emm was delighted with both the book and the puppet, asking to hear the story over and over again. (And acting it out with the puppet.)  The first time we read through it, we didn't really pay attention to the small drawings at the top of each page of text.  The next time, however, we realized that they show Mother Bat, constantly searching for her missing child, never giving up until she finds her.  When my boys came along, this book quickly became a favorite of theirs, as well -- especially for Nick, my animal-obsessed son.


How to Raise Mom and Dad: 
Instructions From Someone Who Figured It Out,
written by Josh Lerman
and illustrated by Greg Clarke, 2009... 

This humorous book features a girl offering advice to her younger brother on how to handle their parents.  Older children and parents will get a kick out of the witty, sarcastic text. (Younger kids, on the other hand, may take it literally and be influenced to do things you don't really want them to do.  Read this to them at your own risk. ;) )  

For example, the advice about waking parents up early in the morning reads, "... don't go to them -- it's much nicer to shout really loud from your room until they get up and come to you, because exercise is healthy for grown-ups and it will help wake them up.  This is totally true."


M.O.M. (Mom Operating Manual),
written by Doreen Cronin
and illustrated by Laura Cornell, 2011... 

This tongue-in-cheek manual explains how to keep your mom operating at peak performance, and includes tips on daily care, grooming, outdoor use, and troubleshooting (should your mom malfunction).  Some of Cronin's invaluable advice: "To ensure peak performance, your mom needs eight hours of peaceful, uninterrupted sleep each night.  This will never happen, but it's important to set goals..." and my favorite, "Do not let your mother eat while operating an iron.  In fact, do not let your mother operate an iron.  Find something else to wear.  Spread the word."

I'm really glad that I stumbled across this hilarious book at the library -- every page had me laughing out loud!  My kids giggled over it, as well.  I think it would make a great Mother's Day present for moms of young children.

What are your favorite books about moms?  I'd love to hear any recommendations!

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