cover image Mama, I'll Give You the World

Mama, I'll Give You the World

Roni Schotter. Schwartz & Wade Books, $16.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-375-83612-1

A keen observer, Luisa notices that while her hard-working mother's mission is ""to give her the world,"" it is sadly often at her own expense (""Mama hardly ever smiles, but when she does, she is the prettiest flower in the World""). Schotter's (The Boy Who Loved Words) flower imagery at times feels overwrought as it serves as a metaphor for the necessity of growth and development in order to flourish (""Everyone in the world is a flower.... Together, they make a bouquet,"" her mother tells Luisa). Gallagher's (Moonhorse) illustrations focus on the beauty shop customers, whose individual hairstyles and personalities lend style and humor to a colorful setting. Ironically, while Mama also recognizes their uniqueness and is surrounded by products with ""names that whisper promises-Raspberry Radiance, Evening Glamour Glow, Sunday Night Soother""-she has a hard time seeing her own inner beauty. Luisa hatches a plan to help her mother stop and smell the roses (literally), as she recreates a joyous moment in Mama's past with the help of the beauty parlor community. By story's end, both Luisa and Mama have come to realize that their presence in the present is the greatest gift of all. Ages 4-6.