Monday, May 2, 2011

Themed Reviews: Celebrate Mother's Day

In the United States Mother’s Day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May. The holiday was created in 1908 by Anna Jarvis as a day to celebrate one’s own mother. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day as an official national holiday in 1914.

In 2011, Mother’s Day falls on Sunday May 8th. Though around the world many countries celebrate Mothers at different times of the year. In fact, over 60 countries have their own version of Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day is an excellent opportunity to incorporate family reading. Browse through the following selections for stories to share with any mothers in your life.

For more information on Mother’s Day:

My Mother is So Smart!
Tomie dePaola
Having written extensively about families in the past, DePaola now presents his homage to mothers. The book is dedicated to his mother, Flossie, and "all the other smart mothers in the world." We see a young child and his mother in a variety of scenes, all drawn in the award-winning style that is so famously "Tomie." Right from the earliest days, the baby recognizes that his mother is smart because she knows "when to change [his] diaper" and when he is hungry. Told in the first-person from the child’s point of view as he grows into a school-aged child, we learn that his mother knows how to dress him for cold weather and let him explore outside. Later, he appreciates her baking skills and willingness to interact with all of the neighborhood children. She teaches everyone to sing songs and be "VERY careful" using sparklers on the Fourth of July. One Halloween, she turns him "into a bird." The costume is adorable, and the child wears it with pride. When he describes how "she makes our house the best house at Christmas," he adds that he and his father help. Her versatility astonishes him, and he is impressed that she can drive his grandfather’s old delivery truck, sometimes even taking him to school in it. It is obvious that the narrator is impressed that she can "change into a movie star" when he sees her dressed to go out for the evening with his tuxedoed father. Her exuberance is portrayed as she teaches him to dance the polka and in his telling the principal of his school that "she can stand on her head." The blurb on the jacket cover explains that the generalized scenes in the book were inspired by DePaolo’s mother but the scene with the principal "actually happened." If only all mothers and children could have the loving relationship depicted here. Perfect for Mother’s Day or any day when children and adults share stories. 2010, Putnam/Penguin, $16.99. Ages 18 mo. to 5. Reviewer: Sheilah Egan (Children’s Literature).
ISBN: 9780399254420

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