Mama Says: A Book of Love for Mothers and Sons

Rob D. Walker, Author , illus. by Leo and Diane Dillon. Scholastic/Blue Sky $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-439-93208-0

A sure-fire hit for Mother's Day, this elegantly designed book pairs a series of poems with stunning illustrations to celebrate the bond between mothers and sons. Identical in structure, each beginning with “Mama says,” the poems appear in English as well as another language (among these are Cherokee, Danish, Hebrew and Inuktitut). The verses are prosaic (“Mama says/ To be on time/ Mama says/ Be neat/ Mama says/ To walk with pride/ And never drag my feet”)—but only until the Caldecott Medal–winning Dillons create a greater context for them; in this case, they picture an African-American mother solemnly looking on as her son, carrying schoolbooks, stoically walks past angry white protestors. The illustrations, two per poem, are well-researched and lavish, showing mothers in traditional dress lovingly engaged with their sons. A visual notation connects each entry with a glossary of languages in the back. Even with the inclusion of very general religious precepts, the Dillons' breathtaking paintings and the quiet dignity of the poems merit a wide audience. All ages. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 02/02/2009
Release date: 00/00/0000
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