Sunday, May 10, 2009

Picture Book Mamas, a list

In honor of Mother's Day, I thought, well, I thought I'd run away to the Bahamas with a suitcase full of books and Chompo bars, but that didn't happen.* So instead, I bring you a Respect the Mighty Picture Book Mother's Day moment:

Three Picture Book Mamas You Have to Love

1. Frances's mother (from A Baby Sister for Frances or A Birthday for Frances,** by Russell Hoban, illus. Lillian Hoban)
Frances pitches a fit because Mom forgot the raisins. Frances shakes a coffee can full of rocks while the baby's sleeping. Frances catches Mother and Father self-medicating with cake and asks to share. Does Mother put the baby lock on the outside of the cabinet to which Frances runs away? No. The woman is a rock of patience. And yet, you get the sense she and Father laugh at Frances. A lot.

2. Patrick Edward's mama (from Monster Mama, by Liz Rosenberg, illus. Stephen Gammell)
She's a monster, but she loves him with "the sweetest touch in the world." Monster Mama and I are kindred spirits in the "turn into a raving lunatic if someone hurts your kids" thing. And yes, she understands the value of a tasty cake.***

I also love her because Publisher's Weekly called her an "impish-faced woman experiencing a decidedly bad hair day and needing a manicure." Um, that's me every day.

3. Mama Llama (from Llama Llama Red Pajama, by Anna Dewdney)
Yeah, we're still obsessed with this one in our house. Picture books need more mamas with some attitude, I think. Enough of this, "If you turn into a sailboat, I will be the wind and blow you where I want you to go" and more "Baby llama, what a tizzy!/ Sometimes Mama Llama's busy."

So who did I miss? Who's on your list?

* Other ways I am not celebrating Mother's Day include starting Captain Destructo's baby book and having a moment's peace.
** Confession: I hate
Bedtime for Frances (plugs ears to avoid hearing the screams). Yes, well, come talk to me when YOU have had to read Bedtime for Frances every single night for several months. Do you know how long that book is?! Plus, I am guessing you have forgotten that Frances only finally goes to bed after her father threatens to wallop her.
*** Note to graduate students: do you notice the frequency of cake in these stories? There is a thesis here. You should write it. Or you should go bake me some cake.


Angela said...

I love MORE MORE MORE SAID THE BABY. Of courseit is a daddy and grandma too...but I must have read it a million times to each kid (and acted it out) and it was always fun. (Now they think they are too big....)

Happy Mothers' Day!

J. Thorp said...

I've always admired Little Critter's mama from Mercer Mayer's "Just For You," etc. -- talk about your long-suffering, patient, loving, life-giving mom!

Diane T said...

In P.D. Eastman's Are You My Mother I love how, even after her baby thinks maybe a steam shovel is his mother, and runs around getting lost from the nest, the Mama Bird doesn't scold, but happily greets her baby.

Plus I love reading the book and saying "SNORT!"

adrienne said...

My favorite part in Bedtime for Frances is the parents eating cake...
I also like Beetle Betty in Little Miss Spider.

C.R. Evers said...

The Francis books were my very, very favorites in Kindergarten. I have vivid memories of going to the school library and pouring over the Francis books. I read them over and over again!!!!

Jacqui said...

Angela, acting out More More More is the best. Love those toes.

Thorp, yes. Little Critter's mama is awesome in all the books. What's the one where the dad takes him camping?

Diane, I like at the end when the baby says, "You are not a cow, you are not a snort..." and the mama's all "Okay, okay. Eat your worm."

Adrienne, cake is often my fav part...

Christy, I love them too. Just not Bedtime...

Amber Lough said...

Just wait until I blog about the cake I made this weekend.

I'll give you a hint: don't make a cake with strawberry filling. It oozes. It's decidedly Zombie-ish, which is decidedly BAD for a baby shower.

Jacqui said...

Amber, maybe bad looking, but ain't nothing bad about gooey strawberry filling once it's in my mouth.

Anonymous said...

The mama owl in "Owl Babies" is pretty cool too. And so is the mom in "Ramona Quimby, Age 8." She tries to hide the fact she made tongue for dinner but makes the kids make the family meal the next night after they find out and complain.

Pat Zietlow Miller

Jacqui said...

Pat, the mama owl in Owl Babies was my first runner up. I love that she says, "What's all the fuss?!" Plus, with the possible exception of Stellaluna's mom, have you ever been happier to have a character show up?