cover image Tough Like Mum

Tough Like Mum

Lana Button, illus. by Carmen Mok. Tundra, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7352-6598-1

According to “everyone in town,” Kim, a pale child with brown hair, is “tough” like her single mother, who works as a waitress and for whom it’s difficult to make ends meet. Groceries seem limited, and contextual clues imply that the family’s power has been turned off: “I don’t need the stove to make this soup taste good,” Kim says, and their home is lit solely by candle at night. For lunch, there’s “just ends. So the last two pieces of pepperoni and a mustard smile.” But the child attempts to sustain a positive attitude, channeling her mother throughout the day despite lacking funds for a field trip and experiencing bullying. Mok offers simple, carefully shaded gouache and colored-pencil art, underlining this sensitive portrayal of the bond between one mother and child navigating difficult circumstances and whether to welcome help. Ages 3–7. [em](Apr.) [/em]