cover image Mama Talks Too Much

Mama Talks Too Much

Marisabina Russo. Greenwillow Books, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-16411-9

Most kids will readily relate to the scenario Russo (Hannah's Baby Sister) so warmly unfolds in this slice-of-life picture book. Celeste and her mother embark on their regular Saturday foray to the supermarket but, much to Celeste's frustration, her mother stops every few blocks to greet friends and neighbors: ""They talk and talk and talk. Blah, blah, blah."" The tables are turned, however, when Celeste takes time out to visit a neighbor's new puppy. In a companionable ending, Celeste and her mother get under way again, and this time it's the two of them who do all the talking. The text neatly pins down Celeste's feelings, and the artwork is equally assured. Favoring her customary streamlined style, Russo paints a lively progression of city snapshots, past brownstones with ornate grillwork and window boxes, across busy streets and by a flurry of small businesses. She carefully edits the details--the pages are full of action but not overcrowded, and what she does include (street signs, window displays, and so on) is in service to the flow of color, form and line. Children who know an adult or two endowed with Celeste's mom's gift of gab will enjoy sharing this with them. Ages 4-up. (Aug.)