In which Annie (high school teacher, mother of two young girls and a younger boy) and her aunt Deborah (children's bookseller, mother of two young women in their 20s) discuss children's books and come up with annotated lists.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Working moms

Dear Annie,

It's true, Pippi Longstocking, like Ramona Quimby and Henry Huggins, are best when one understands the world of school and peers that they inhabit.  But as long as we're on the subject of Pippi, I'd like to point out
that a few years ago Lauren Child (known to this generation as the creator of Charlie and Lola) did new illustrations for a fabulous (hardcover only) new edition of
Pippi Longstocking
. This is a case of an illustrator totally in sync with the author, even though they're decades apart.

Owl Babies
The other day, we received a question about books for 3 year-olds about working moms.  The problem, of course, with working mom books is that one is writing about someone who's not there in a picture book.  The book that I think captures that emptiness and waiting very well is Owl Babies by Martin Waddell.  Three owl babies wake up one night in their home in a tree to discover that their mother is gone.

    The baby owls thought

    (all owls think a lot) –

    “I think she’s gone hunting,” said Sarah.

    “To get us our food!” said Percy.

    “I want my mommy!” said Bill.

They keep worrying and waiting (while Bill repeats his refrain) through some lovely illustrations.  Then:


    their Owl Mother asked.

    “You knew I’d come back.”

    The baby owls thought

    (all owls think a lot) –

    “I knew it,” said Sarah.

    “And I knew it!” said Percy.

    “I love my mommy!” said Bill.

Okay, so one can say it's a bit saccharine.  But the pictures are very engaging and the message is clear: mom always comes home.

This mom is about to leave home to go join many family members for two weddings in the next week.  I'll see you soon, Annie.


Aunt Debbie

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