cover image Mothers Are Like That

Mothers Are Like That

Carol Carrick. Clarion Books, $15 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-395-88351-8

This mother-son collaboration quietly praises mothers of all species, from a chicken guarding an egg-filled nest to a woman tucking her baby into bed at night. The text is tender without being sappy, its comforting descriptions anchored by the title refrain: ""Mother keeps her babies clean,/ and close,/ and safe from harm./ She can find them in a crowd./ Mothers are like that."" The author is no stranger to familial teamwork: Carol Carrick collaborated with her late husband, Donald Carrick, on several picture books, including Patrick's Dinosaurs. Their son, Paul, makes a promising picture book debut with luminous, realistic acrylic art that portrays the mothers as warm and solicitous without anthropomorphizing them. In several spreads, he uses lavender-blue outlines to make the animals appear backlit or slightly electrified, and he subtly conveys a background that traces a single day from sunup to moonrise. A fluffy, substantial ewe and her babe fill one verdant spread, and in another, a mother cat licks one of her restless kittens in an indoor setting rendered in warm grays. This brief volume honors all that mothers do, and makes an especially apt bedtime book for parent and child to share. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)