SOMETIMES MY MOMMY GETS ANGRY

Bebe Moore Campbell, Author, E. B. Lewis, Illustrator , illus. by E.B. Lewis. Putnam $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-399-23972-4

In a prefatory note, Campbell (Your Blues Ain't Like Mine ) explains that she wrote this book "to address the fears and concerns of children who have a parent who suffers from mental illness." As her insightful, moving tale opens, narrator Annie eats pancakes with her buoyant mother. At school, the African-American girl draws a picture of this breakfast scene: "This is my mommy and me.... We have pancakes inside us and sunshine all around us." That sunlight disappears in an instant when she returns home to a much-altered mother who shouts at her. In a touching scene—made all the more so by Lewis's (The Other Side ) accompanying picture of Annie crouched in a corner, behind a closed door—Annie phones her grandmother and tearfully reports on her mother's mood. Her grandmother reassures her that she did nothing wrong, that her mother "hasn't gotten the help she needs." Together Grandma and Annie review clearly well-worn plans for coping with the difficult evening (and morning) ahead. Throughout, Lewis's lifelike artwork underscores the story's intense, real emotions as the paintings creatively manipulate light and shadow as well as juggle interior and exterior views. This book amply fulfills Campbell's stated mission and, while it is likely to spark questions from a more general audience, it is equally likely to invite their compassion. Ages 5-up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 12/08/2003
Release date: 09/01/2003
Genre: Children's
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-606-34602-3
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-14-240359-4
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-3673-7
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