cover image Tell Me a Story Mama

Tell Me a Story Mama

Angela Johnson. Scholastic, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-05794-0

Mama's memories of her own childhood have been told to her daughter so many times that the girl has made them her own bedtime litany; she tells her mother the stories and her mother reassures her that she has the story right. About the story of a neighborhood woman who used to scare Mama (as a girl) and her sister, the daughter says, ``She was so mean that she used to holler out her window at you and Aunt Jessie when you passed her house every morning. You weren't afraid of her, though.'' `` No sir, I was not, '' is Mama's firm answer. The girl is curious about the love between generations: ``Did Grandmama squeeze you tight when you were her little girl, like she does me?'' `` Uh-huh. '' ``You were lucky, too, Mama.'' `` Yes, I was. '' Johnson captures perfectly the way children make stories they love their own. Soman's lively, warm watercolors alternate between the bedtime rituals of the girl and her mother, and the loving vignettes from ``Mama's'' childhood. Parents and children who share this book may wish to begin their own brand of family storytelling. Ages 3-8. (Mar.)