Mom’s big day is almost here, so why not celebrate it with some great picture books that are all about her?
I’ll Be There, by Ann Stott, and illustrated by Matt Pelan, is a quiet and simple story beginning with a young boy walking on top of a rock wall. He asks his mom if she pushed him in a carriage when he was a baby. This prompts mom to list the many things she did for him when he was very young. But when he jumps from the wall by himself, he asks “Will you still take care of me when I’m big?” She promises that she will always be there. The sweetness of both the text and the pastel watercolors makes this story a perfect fit.
What’s Special About Me, Mama?, by Kristina Evans, and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe, is a reassuring story about a curious boy as he asks his mama what makes him special. Her answers bring out the loving support that is universal for moms everywhere. She tells him that his many features and kind personality that combines characteristics from family members and helpful and selfless gestures make him special. And above all, greatly loved by mom! The mixed-media illustrations help layer texture to this beautiful story. Watch for the enlarged and colorful words that describe this young tike. This book is special for families!
Little Chicken’s Big Day, by Jerry Davis, and illustrated by Katie Davis, is a simple, yet powerful, story about an enlarged and bold mama chicken as she wakes up her Little Chicken. She instructs him to “Wash your face!”, “Brush your teeth!” and finally as she goes out the door, “Follow me!” He answers, “I hear you cluckin’, big chicken.” He looks a little aggravated by all the directions until he loses his mama. When Big Chicken finds her Little Chicken, he’s happy and relieved and so is she. The line drawings are as sparse as the text which helps deliver the message of the powerful bond of mom and child.
Floating on Mama’s Song, by Laura Lacamara, and illustrated by Yuyi Morales, characterizes the strong, important bond of mothers and families. Anita comes home from school on her seventh birthday and finds that her mother’s beautiful singing causes all who hear her voice to float. Grandma demands that she stop singing at once before someone is hurt. But mother becomes sad and despondent without her singing and the town also becomes infected with sadness. But Anita, her mother and grandmother realize they all have this gift and it’s much better not to bury it in order to find happiness. The wonderful pastels of collage illustrations as well as using authentic photographs mixed in may just make you want to sing. The story is also told with a Caribbean flair and the author tells the story in both English and Spanish.
Mama and Me, by Arthur Dorros, and illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez, is alive and rich in color. Every page swirls with movement as flora and batik designs surround mama and daughter. The young girl desires to bake, plant and paint by herself. But mama is always close by for support and love. There is a sprinkling of Spanish words throughout, but they are easily translatable.
I Love My Mommy, by Giles Andreae, and illustrated by Emma Dodd, is a love-affirming story about how much a child loves her mommy. The story is told through a rhyming pattern making this delightful, and lovingly told, story perfect for lap-reading. “And then when I start to cry, She wipes my tears until they’re dry.” The pictures are large, simple and bright.
Mad at Mommy, by Komako Sakai, shows a young bunny who is mad at his mommy. She doesn’t let him watch his cartoons, while she watches her shows and she sleeps in on Saturdays when she doesn’t let him sleep in on school days. And here’s the worst part of the dilemma: she won’t marry him when he grows up. The context of both text and color is blended in balance which highlights Ms. Sakai’s Japanese influence. The ending feelings of bunny are a nice blend of love and appreciation of mommy.
Because of You: A Book of Kindness, by B. G. Henessy, and illustrated by Hiroe Nakata, celebrates the importance and love children bring into the family. “When you were born, there was a new person for our family to love and care for.” The book is small, the colors are soft – but the message is big!
Mommy Hugs, by Karen Katz, has been made into a large board book with Katz’s trademark vivid colors. This counting book features mommy and baby enjoying each other as the count goes from 1 to 10.
The last three books feature what mommies like doing best: raising their children. I Love You Baby from Head to Toe!, by Karen Pandell, and illustrated by Jane Cowen-Fletcher, commemorates all that baby brings to a family: from baby’s mouth to baby’s skin. The pastel colors add to this board book with a soft glow. You Are My Sunshine, by Caroline Jayne Church, is another smallish board book that will have you singing the song as you hold your drop of sunshine in your arms. And lastly, There’s Going to be a Baby, by John Burningham, and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, takes you through three seasons as mom tells her son there’s going to be a baby. The rest of the story conveys his conversations with mom and Granddad as he imagines what the baby will be like now, and when he grows up. The artwork, done in ink and digital colorization, gives a distinct retro aura. However, there is one unnecessary picture of this young boy nude while in the bathtub near the end of the story.