Review of My Mama

My Mama
by Annemarie van Haeringen; illus. by the author; trans. from Dutch by Bill Nagelkerke
Preschool    Gecko    32 pp.
3/20    978-1-776572-67-0    $17.99

Told from the baby’s point of view (“I’ve known my mama for a long time”), this playful offering explores, through two elephant characters, the strong emotional bond between parent and child. They play together; they run errands together; and sometimes Mama gets “really ANGRY” when her baby gets into mischief (“altering” her dress with scissors, or watering houseplants by urinating on them). Still, our narrator knows, without having to be told, of Mama’s unconditional love. Nearly every spread is filled with the mother, stocky and sturdy, as she plays with her child, with no background details to distract from their interactions. Throughout, the baby wears white pants adorned with orange stars; at bedtime, Mama “shakes the stars off my pants,” and the baby elephant stares in wonder at the orange stars floating above, the same ones that adorn the opening and closing endpapers.

From the May/June 2020 Horn Book Magazine.

Julie Danielson
Julie Danielson
Julie Danielson writes about picture books at the blog Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. She also writes for Kirkus Reviews and BookPage and is a lecturer for the School of Information Sciences graduate program at the University of Tennessee. Her book Wild Things!: Acts of Mischief in Children’s Literature, written with Betsy Bird and Peter D. Sieruta, was published in 2014.

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