cover image MAMA LOVES


Rebecca Kai Dotlich, , illus. by Kathryn Brown. . HarperCollins, $14.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-06-029407-6

In the eyes of her six piglets, what makes Mama wonderful is that she loves so many things—and loves sharing them with each of her offspring in turn. As Brown (Tough Boris ) shows Mama and a daughter admiring a pink hat in a shop window (readers will enjoy the chapeau's striking resemblance to a birthday cake), Dotlich (Lemonade Sun ) writes: "Mama loves/ cafés and coffee./ Cobblestone streets./ Chestnuts in brown bags/ and shopping/ with me." On the opposite page, readers see the duo through a café window; the piglet now wears the comically towering hat as she and Mama enjoy a dainty snack. Other vignettes reflect a collective point of view, as when Mama and several members of her brood visit the shore. Dotlich's understated verses make a consistent impact although her speaker varies. She accumulates particulars about Mama with childlike concision and eloquence, while the culminating words "with me" make each catalogue personal. Traveling through the seasons, Brown's beguiling watercolors brim with delicate, knowing detail: the curve of Mama's back and the softness of her gaze as she bends down to listen to the war story behind one child's scraped knee; the easygoing way Mama snuggles with another child on the sofa or porch swing. A moving paean to the comforting constancy of the maternal presence. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)