cover image Mama's Day

Mama's Day

Linda Ashman, , illus. by Jan Ormerod. . S&S, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-83475-2

In this lovely reverie on the joys of being alive and being loved, two veteran talents contentedly riff on each other's work. "Somewhere, there's a mama lifting baby from a crib," the text begins, "Snapping rompers, looping laces,/ Brushing crumbs from baby's bib." As Ashman's (The Essential Worldwide Monster Guide ) rhythmic construction invites readers to further muse on what mothers do for their children from morning 'til night ("There's a mama by the ocean, holding tight to baby's hand/ Chasing waves and watching seagulls,/ Finding seashells in the sand"), Ormerod (Goodbye Mousie ) devotes each spread's main framed picture to a literal interpretation of the verse, and surrounds the image and the text with zephyr-like spot illustrations of all the ways that babies and toddlers interact with the world. For the spread on which mother and child feed the sea gulls, satellite vignettes portray fussy and napping babies, a toddler banging on a pot with wooden spoons, another jauntily marching, and several others intently absorbing the world while seated on their well-padded bottoms. The recurring baby characters in the spot illustrations each develop their own story line, too (one especially entertaining baby sits placidly and snugly in a swing, then grows restless, eventually erupting into a tantrum). Together, the eloquent simplicity of the words and the understated warmth of the pictures exude a cozy contemplativeness, inviting the very young and those who love them to point and coo, laugh, dream and snuggle. Ages 2-6. (Apr.)