cover image Momma, Where Are You from

Momma, Where Are You from

Marie Bradby. Orchard, $17.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-30105-0

As nostalgic and sentimental as an old radio show, this lyrical picture book is chock full of family reminiscences. A child asks, ""Momma, where are you from?"" and the mother answers with a string of poetic images: ""I'm from Monday mornings, washing loads of clothes in the wringer washer."" Bradby lovingly describes the fixtures of the woman's childhood: the rag man, fish man and ice man who all traveled to her neck of the woods, ""where the edge of town met the countryside; where the city sidewalk ended and chickens ran through yards."" Soentpiet carries through the mood of a cozy household and a neighborhood ""as close as a knit sweater"" with sunny spreads of families playing hide-and-seek under a sheltering tree and friends gathering for barbecues at twilight; the close-up portraits convey a radiant joy. While the book does not ignore the inequalities of the mother's growing-up years (she wonders ""why Miss Mary cleaned someone else's house and why my brothers and sister didn't go to the school right up the street""), the emphasis is upon the positive--so much so that the girl asks, ""Momma, can I go there?"" Her mother replies, ""Yes. We can travel through roads in my memory."" This tour through memory lane may well inspire readers to make a similar journey with their own parents. Ages 4-7. (Mar.)