Heartwarming tributes to moms and grandmas

Books - May 2005


Judy Belanger


May brings not only May flowers, but Mother’s Day. I hope all of you, including those who are grandmothers and great-grandmothers, enjoy the day.

WHEN MAMA COMES HOME TONIGHT, by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Jane Dyer, Simon & Schuster, $7.99; ages 1-5. Although Mama has had a busy day at work, when she comes home there is time for both parent and child to enjoy their evening together. This story, written in rhyme, represents playtime as well as getting ready for bed, followed by a story before being tucked in for the night. The illustrations portray the fun taking place during this loving, sharing evening.

PIGLET AND MAMA, by Margaret Wild, illustrated by Stephen Michael King, Abrams Books, $14.95; ages 1-5. While out in the farmyard one morning, piglet can’t find her mama. The farmyard animals try to console piglet as she searches for her all around. Duck recommends a cuddle, dog suggests a roll in the mud, cat recommends a snooze in the sun. Other animals that piglet meets also have ideas, but the only thing piglet wants is her mother. When Mama finds piglet, the two enjoy doing all those things the animals suggested.

MOTHER, MOTHER, I WANT ANOTHER, by Maria Polushkin Robbins, illustrated by Jon Goodell, Knopf Books, $14.95; ages 3-6. It is time for baby mouse to go to bed. Mother mouse has helped him through the usual nightly routine of putting on his pajamas and brushing his teeth. After he is tucked into bed, mother mouse reads him a bedtime story. He gets his goodnight kiss and as mother is leaving, baby starts crying. When asked why he is crying, he replies, “I want another, Mother.” But because of a misplaced comma, Mother believes that baby mouse wants another mother. So, mother goes out and brings home a duck, frog, pig and donkey. Baby is not satisfied with these mothers because he just wants another kiss. How many times have your children wanted another—whether it be a kiss, a glass of water or a story?

This is a fun book.

NONNA’S PORCH, by Rita Gray, illustrated by Terry Widener, Hyperion Books, $15.99; ages 4-7. Nonna is enjoying sitting in her rocking chair out on her porch. It is very quiet, but if you listen carefully, a few sounds can be heard. First is the creaking of the rocking chair. Then the clicking of Nonna’s knitting needles. Not too far away you can hear animals—a deer, bird and chipmunk. All of a sudden, the grandchildren arrive and many more sounds are heard as they play in the yard and the family gets ready to eat. Then the sounds are quiet again, and you hear Nonna’s heart as she rocks one of her grandchildren to sleep. After her busy day it looks like Nonna is enjoying the quiet, too.

WITH LOVE FROM GRANDMA, by Harriet Ziefert, pictures by Deborah Kogan Ray, Sterling Publishing, $9.95; ages 4-7. One summer when Sarah was visiting her grandmother, they went to the store to pick out yarn for an afghan. After the strips had been knitted, the family had a sewing party to assemble the afghan. “With love from Grandma—1955” appears in one of the corners. Now Sarah is the grandmother and she shares her story with Katie as she places the afghan on her bed. As Grandma tells her childhood story, the print appears in brown. When Katie is talking to grandma, the print is black. It took me several readings to fully understand the beauty of this story, but it brought me back to when my grandma taught me to knit.

MY MOM, by Anthony Browne, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16; ages 4-8. The first page shows Mom wearing her beautiful floral housecoat, enjoying her morning cup of coffee. Each page depicts a task that Mom does. One page shows her talent as a painter, putting on her lipstick. On another Mom is the strongest, carrying in all the groceries. I am sure moms will agree that many days they are a juggler with all the schedules and activities they have to work around. Browne has incorporated the print of the floral housecoat throughout the book. When Mom is the boss, her tie is made from the print. All children know she is a super mom, but they don’t all have a beautiful floral-print cape to wear. The illustrations really give meaning to the many jobs moms fulfill each day as they go about taking care of their families. Browne reminds us that our moms will always love us. The book is dedicated to the memory of Browne’s mom and and to the mother of his children. It is also a companion to his earlier book, My Dad.

WHAT GRANDMAS CAN’T DO, by Douglas Wood, pictures by Doug Cushman, Simon & Schuster, $14.95; ages 4-8. As grandmas get older, it is so nice that they have little ones around to help them with many tasks. Sometimes grandmas have trouble remembering everything, but they will quickly remind little ones that they didn’t have television. Grandmas may not understand all the new technology, but they are willing to learn. Grandchildren become a help when top shelves become harder to reach. Included in the book is a greeting card so you can write a message to    grandma. 

Judy Belanger is a retired elementary learning resource center teacher who lives with her husband in Addison. They have two grown children and four grandchildren. She continues to substitute in grades K-6 in the school where she taught.


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