You Be Mommy (Karla Clark)

Hello, friends! Our book today is You Be Mommy, written by Karla Clark and illustrated by Zoe Persico, a sweet tribute to everything moms do for their loved ones… and what makes it all worth it.

“Can you be mommy?” an exhausted mother jokingly asks her youngest child at bedtime. After all, Mommy has had a big day. She worked a full shift at her retail job, then came home to a messy house. She helped with homework, bathed the dog, drove the older siblings to their practices, did laundry, mended clothes, cooked; and so on and so on (context clues would indicate she is a single parent as well). Mommy is just feeling a little… pooped! Gamely, her little girl plays along, wiping Mommy’s nose, tucking her in under her favorite blanket, and giving goodnight kisses and cuddles. Yet when the little girl begins to drift off herself, Mommy smiles, and does what mommies always do – takes care of her baby.

Adorable. In subdued yet amusing rhyme, the story follows a harried – yet never quite flustered – mom through her busy day, bookended by the charming and relatable exchange with her youngest child. It’s a subtle balance of celebrating hard-working moms and reminding younger readers of not only everything moms do for their families, but also why they do these things; simply, because they care. The cartoonish illustration is lush and vibrant with color; the family’s home has a fantastic visual theme of growing green plants and cozy textures. One thing I loved especially was that the super-mom was depicted as a more average-sized, curvy woman; moms in picture books are not often shown as anything other than skinny and/or hourglass-shaped. In addition to being a woman of color, it’s a nice bit of representation for super-moms. The length was perfect, and JJ and I really enjoyed it. A warm and worthy celebration of often-unsung heroes, 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.)

One More Hug (Megan Alexander)

Hello, friends! Our book today is One More Hug, written by Megan Alexander and illustrated by Hiroe Nakata, an ode to the special bond between mothers and sons.

In this sentimental tale, a mother reflects fondly on several significant moments in her oldest son’s childhood. From waiting for the first bus to school, playing pretend in the backyard, learning to ride a bike and more, these big-little moments are often a mix of happiness, excitement, yet sometimes disappointment or fear, such as when a favorite toy breaks or a loud screech of a schoolbus door startles. But in those moments, mommies are there for one more hug, one more kiss, and one more cuddle – for no matter how old little one gets, they will always be their Mama’s boy.

Very sweet. Dedicated to her own two sons, author Alexander creates a loving and timeless narration of mothers and sons. The afterward also claims that the intention of the story is to show parents and young children that it’s okay for boys to show emotion and their feelings; however, this theme feels far less fleshed-out. Still, the root story is solid, and filled with moments that mothers will relate to, especially in the bittersweet pride and joy of watching one’s baby grow into an adult. The soft, airy artwork has a nostalgic feel that fits the sentiment of the story, and JJ enjoyed the soothing tenderness of the text. This would be a wonderful gift for little (or big) sons and their moms, as a reminder of the incomparable bond they share. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

My Mommy Medicine (Edwidge Danticat)

Hello, friends! Our book today is My Mommy Medicine, written by Edwidge Danticat and illustrated by Shannon Wright, a sweet tribute to the special healing powers that mommies possess.

When the unnamed protagonist – an adorable little girl with bright eyes and a high poof of natural hair – is feeling sick or sad, her Mommy always knows just the right medicine. Sometimes it’s a silly kiss as loud as Mardi Gras horns, or a cup of tea (or hot chocolate!) to soothe sore throats. Maybe it’s a song at bedtime, or a prayer at naptime, or a cuddle on the couch while watching movies. Maybe it’s playing a game of Uno, or a piggyback ride, or even just sitting quietly together and enjoying the stars on the ceiling. No matter what the remedy, Mommy always seems to know just what the little girl needs to feel better.

Warm and sweet. A celebration of that special touch that moms always seem to have with their babies, the text and illustrations focus on the specifics of this one pair, detailing all the little things that are their rituals of care and quality time. It’s a nice focus, as it gives the story a sense of personality and realism, yet remains relatable enough for everyone to connect with on some level, or in some activity. There’s not much in the way of rising or falling action, but, in a way, that adds to the soft, comforting tone. The character design is precious, especially in the similar hairstyles and subtle nods that the Mommy is, in fact, a real doctor. The length is fine, and JJ enjoyed it a lot. This is a lovely, gentle tribute to the magic of mommies, 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.)

Heather Has Two Mommies (Lesléa Newman)

Hello friends, and a happy start to Pride Month! To celebrate, our book today is the classic Heather Has Two Mommies, written by Lesléa Newman and illustrated by Laura Cornell in the new edition (Diana Souza illustrated the original).

Heather’s very favorite number is two. Why? Well, there are two of all her very favorite things – she has two arms and two legs, two eyes and two ears, two pets (a dog and cat), and best of all, her two mommies. She has her Mama Jane and her Mama Kate, and she loves both of them the most, more than anyone else. On Heather’s very first day of school, it comes up in conversation that she doesn’t have a daddy, and for the first time, she feels insecure – is she the only one in class with no daddy? But when the teacher suggests that the children all draw their families, Heather and the reader quickly see that each family is made up differently, with blended families, single-parent families, other LGBTQ families and more. Her teacher reminds the children that what makes a family isn’t a set of rules about who is in it; what makes a family is simply the love they share.

This groundbreaking work, cited as the first lesbian-themed picture ever widely published, has been around since 1989, and there’s a reason the story has such staying power. The themes are simple and easy to grasp for young readers, but encourage the universal truth that families of every shape and size are made family by love – no other prerequisites required. The text is cheerful and positive, and Cornell’s colorful, lively illustrations capture the frenetic energy of childhood. The length is fine for bookworms of any age, and JJ loved the art, especially the detailed environments. A classic must-read, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

Everything Is Mama (Jimmy Fallon)

Hello friends, and Happy Mother’s Day! In honor of the occasion, we have a special review today: Everything Is Mama, written by Jimmy Fallon and illustrated by Miguel Ordóñez, the follow-up to the massively popular Your Baby’s First Word Will Be Dada.

This time around, there’s a new wrinkle in teaching the book’s collection of baby animals to say their parents’ names. Namely, the baby animals don’t seem to have any issue saying “Mama”, it’s that they seem to think that everything – from the sun to a pair of shoes to a flower to a balloon and much more – is called “Mama.” Their patient mommies try their best to teach them the proper words, but to no avail – everything is “Mama”. It’s okay, though – one day the little babies will grow up to understand that not everything is Mama… but that “Mama is everything.”

I had to be one of the few people on the planet who wasn’t a fan of this book’s predecessor, but I went into this one having heard that a lot of my issues with Dada weren’t present here, and that proved to be absolutely true. Once again, the art is simple, clean, and full of basic shapes and familiar creatures, wonderful for little ones learning about animals and objects. And the gag here is really cute, and very relatable and funny for any parent who has tried to convince their little one that not every dog has the same name as their own, and not every dark-haired woman is Mama. The sentiment on the final page gives the story a nice, warm conclusion, the length is good, and JJ enjoyed it. This is a simple and sweet story with a touch of fun and a dash of learning opportunity – it’s a little bit of everything, and we liked it a lot. Baby Bookworm approved!

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