cover image Love, Mama

Love, Mama

Jeanette Bradley. Roaring Brook, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-62672-949-0

A toddlerlike penguin named Kipling longs for his mother’s return in author-illustrator Bradley’s lovely and empathetic debut. Kipling hasn’t been left at home alone, but that doesn’t soften the sting of her absence, nor do replacement “mamas” he tries out: “Pillow Mama wouldn’t read. Picture Mama wouldn’t laugh,” writes Bradley as vignettes show Kipling trying to stage a storytime session with a yellow pillow and showing off a dress-up outfit to a picture frame. A special delivery from Mama, which includes a card with a message of love transcending distance, brightens Kipling’s spirits and inspires him to send one in return. Bradley’s soft paintings and understated narration create a rich maritime world—and the comforting assurance of enduring love—that should readily resonate with the children of working parents, even if their Mamas don’t head off to work on an ice floe, as Kipling’s mother does. Ages 2–6. Agent: Emily Mitchell, Wernick & Pratt. (Jan.)