cover image Trade-In-Mother


Marisabina Russo. Greenwillow Books, $13.93 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-688-11417-6

If only mothers were like cars, children could upgrade to ``nicer, better'' models at the first sign of dissatisfaction. Such is the young protagonist's wish in this quietly reassuring picture book. After a trying day that begins with Max running out of his favorite breakfast cereal and ends with him having his hair shampooed, the boy expresses his frustration and displeasure by announcing he wants a new mother (``You are definitely the worst mother in the whole world''). Responding to her son's complaints, Mama counters them with comforting words--a tactic that makes Max reconsider his decision. Russo's ( The Line Up Book ; A Visit to Oma ) bold gouache paintings, in a cool palette of purples, blues and maroon highlighted with pastel shades, provide eye-catching contrast throughout; scenes are warmed by an abundance of background detail. Though the human figures here are a bit stiff, their faces depict a range of emotion--as, overall, does this unexpectedly touching story. Ages 3-up. (Mar.)