When Mama Comes Home Tonight

Eileen Spinelli, Author, Jane Dyer, Illustrator
Eileen Spinelli, Author, Jane Dyer, Illustrator Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing $14.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-689-81065-7
Reviewed on: 08/31/1998
Release date: 09/01/1998
Hardcover - 978-0-689-00755-2
Board Books - 30 pages - 978-0-689-84220-7
Hardcover - 978-0-689-00729-3
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-689-84897-1
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-24074-1
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Mother returns from her job to spend an evening of play and bath time with a sleepy, grateful toddler in this comforting picture book. Spinelli's (Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch) brief, rhythmic sentences immediately establish the mood: ""When Mama comes home from work, dear child,/ when Mama comes home tonight,/ she'll cover you with kisses,/ she'll hug you sweet and tight."" Inspired by the work of Mary Cassatt, Dyer (Time for Bed) composes scenes of quiet domestic harmony, centering on a plump, porcelain-skinned mother in a long flowered dress and her copper-tressed son or daughter in overalls. Text and art depict Mama as an embracing, nurturing and very feminine presence. She plays pat-a-cake with Baby, counts the cars on the small-town street, mends Baby's pajamas and ""her own pink satin slip,"" and fixes herself a cup of tea. The setting is carefully timeless: the clapboard house and playthings old-fashioned, the clothing and furniture as appropriate a few generations ago as today. Spot illustrations lovingly highlight various objects--bowl of soup and cup of applesauce, Baby's sandals, rubber duck, brush, teddy bear--for young readers to recognize and practice naming (in one inventive touch, for ""lullabies,"" musical notes play ""Rock-a-Bye Baby"" on a star-filled staff set against the sky). The book works marvelously as a soporific, and will reassure anxiously waiting children as well as the parents who dash home to put them to bed. Ages 6 mos.-5 yrs. (Sept.)
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