Love, Mama (Jeanette Bradley)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Love, Mama by Jeanette Bradley, a darling tribute to the unconditional love between mother and child.

Little Kipling the penguin is feeling pretty down. His Mama is on a long sea voyage, and he misses her terribly. He even tries to make substitutes, but it’s just not the same; Pillow Mama can’t read to him, Picture Mama doesn’t laugh at his jokes, and Snow Mama’s hugs are far too cold. But his real Mama knows that Kipling is missing her, and she sends him a care package of lovely gifts, including a paper heart she’s made and picture of her hugging that heart. Kipling feels better knowing that even if his Mama is far away, her love for him will travel whatever distance is between them to be where he is.

Adorable and sweet. Kipling and his Mama’s story has a theme familiar to any mother and child: that no matter what may separate them, a mother’s love is absolute. Adding the element of physical distance makes this a valuable story for children who may live separately from their moms, or have moms who must travel (these sorts of stories are more common for fathers, so it’s nice that long-distance moms have this to share with their little ones). The illustrations are charming and sweet, featuring round and cuddly characters in a palette of soft colors, adding to the sentimental vibe of the book. The length is fine, JJ loves anything with penguins, and well, I always love a book about a mommy and little one. A gentle tale to warm the heart, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Coat Of Many Colors (Dolly Parton)

Hello, friends! Today’s review is Coat Of Many Colors, written by Dolly Parton (based on the lyrics of her 1971 song of the same name) and illustrated by Brooke Boynton-Hughes.  

A little girl’s mother is given a box of small fabric scraps, and begins to make the girl a winter coat using the tiny pieces of fabric. The girl’s parents have many children and money is tight, but as the mother lovingly sews the garment, we see the closeness and joy the family shares despite their meager surroundings. While the coat is being sewn, the mother tells the girl the biblical story of Joseph and sings her songs, and the girl watches as her mother carefully makes each stitch to last. When the coat is finished, she is excited to wear it to school – but when she arrives, some of the children make fun of her patchwork clothing. The girl is hurt at first, but refuses to let the taunts of the children spoil the coat for her. She tells the other children that the coat is a symbol of her mother’s love and dedication to her children and, as such, she is proud of her coat of many colors.

We’ve read a lot of song-lyrics-as-picture-books in the last year, and I must say, this is probably the one that we enjoyed the most. Parton’s song translates perfectly to kidlit form: the lyrics truly tell a story, and it leaves a powerful message about family and the value of kindness and love over material wealth. It’s also a very touching testament to motherly love in both tangible and intangible form. The art in this version is charming, showing vibrant warmth and joy on every page. The length is great, and JJ and I both really enjoyed it. This one is a must for Dolly fans, but is also perfect for showing all little readers that money is not the mark of true wealth; sometimes, it’s a simple coat, made with a mother’s love. Baby Bookworm approved!

That’s Me Loving You (Amy Krouse Rosenthal)

Hello, friends! Sorry we missed our review yesterday, but JJ was having fun at her best friend’s birthday party. But we’re back, and today we’re reviewing the lovely That’s Me Loving You, written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Teagan White, a beautiful story of a mother’s everlasting love for her child.

Written in rhyming text, the narrator speaks to her child about how a mother’s love always surrounds her them, even when the mommy isn’t there. A shining star is her wink. A clap of thunder is her cheering her child on. A soft breeze is blown kisses, and a butterfly’s wings are her hugs. So no matter where her child goes, no matter how long or how far, they can know that their mama is always with them, loving them.

What a sweet, timeless sentiment, and wonderfully executed. A mother’s unconditional love is always a classic subject for a book, but the notion that reminders of this love are in the world all around us makes this a special story with a great takeaway lesson for little ones. But what really steals the show is the absolutely darling art, showing each gesture of motherly affection to a different child, each illustration filled with sweet innocence and charm. The length is perfect, and while the ending is a bit abrupt, JJ and I both loved this one. A lovely story for mommies to share with their little readers, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

When I’m A Mommy Like You! (David O’Connell)

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the illustrator in exchange for an honest review.)

Hello, friends! Our book today is When I’m A Mommy Like You!, written by David O’Connell and illustrated by Francesca Gambatesa, a sweet ode to the special relationship between mother and daughter.

In conversational rhyming text, the book introduces a mommy and daughter who spend their days together: shopping, cooking, playing, etc. The mommy works very hard, and the girl thinks she is doing a wonderful job of being a mommy. The little girl tells her mommy that she’s learning how to be a grownup from her, and that she’ll do her best to be a great mommy like her. The mother is touched, and tells the little girl the secret to making their days fun and full of adventure: she does it because she loves the time they get to spend together, and while being a mommy is hard work, it’s very much worth it.

This was a sweet book with a lovely sentiment. I enjoyed the conversational nature of the text, how one spread would be daughter addressing mother, then the opposite for the following spread. The illustrations were adorable, done in a pastel-hued cartoon style that shows great affection for the characters. However, I do have two complaints: the rhyme scheme of the text is a choppy at times, and it can be difficult to keep the rhythm. Also, I would have loved to see the mother doing something that wasn’t domestic- or appearance- related. It might have been nice to show her teaching her daughter a skill that is not traditionally “feminine,” but instead stuck to wearing dresses, gardening, doing yoga and the like. Overall, however, it is a very nice book that explores a timeless dynamic. The length was fine, and JJ enjoyed it, so we’re calling this one Baby Bookworm approved!