cover image My Mother's Voice

My Mother's Voice

Joanne Ryder, , illus. by Peter Catalanotto. . HarperCollins, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-029509-7

Ryder (My Father's Hands ) pays tribute to unconditional maternal love with this book that exudes a fondness and warmth for a childhood relationship that transcends time. By portraying a girl's daily exchanges with her mother, the author communicates how powerful this love can be, even in its simplest form. Catalanotto's (Matthew A.B.C. ) watercolors, bathed in a warm light, evoke a tenderness derived from closely observed intimate moments, and underscore the tale's timeless quality. In one scene, the girl fixes her hair in the morning light, her cat—an omnipresence (unmentioned in the text), much like the mother's love in this story—also grooms herself and the mother looks on with a smile. Ryder's eloquent language enhances such everyday scenes with a freshness that renders them special and new. ("Her voice is the sun lighting my day,/ ever changing with her feelings, yet ever the same.") Both author and artist chart moments of triumph and disappointment, and convey a respect between parent and child, sensing when they need to give each other room and when they need closeness and comfort. This is a book to treasure—for both mother and daughter. Ages 5-up. (Apr.)