cover image Mom Pie

Mom Pie

Lynne Jonell. Putnam Publishing Group, $12.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23422-4

Here's the fourth installment of life in the sharply funny, stick-figure world of Jonell and Mathers (Mommy Go Away!; It's My Birthday, Too!). While Mommy is frantically preparing a Thanksgiving-esque dinner for company, Christopher and his younger brother Robbie are stewing. Mommy won't even stop to kiss a boo-boo on Robbie's knee. ""Put a Band-Aid on it and go somewhere else to play. I have work to do,"" she tells the incredulous boys. Then Christopher hits on the idea of making a ""Mom Pie"" filled with inedible things (like her pink bunny slippers) that remind them of how soft, smooth, snuggly and good-smelling Mommy is. When Mommy discovers the pie, Jonell proves (as she has in her other books with Mathers) that she understands the reality of domestic life too well to opt for narrative treacle. Instead of having Mommy make an apology/explanation speech, the character snuggles her now ecstatic boys without comment and, even more important, continues to do so after company arrives--or, as Jonell notes in a tone perfectly pitched to a child's sensibilities, ""she did not get up."" Thanks to Jonell's light touch and Mathers's talent for distilling the action to its emotional essence, the story's happy resolution is roundly satisfying. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)