cover image What's Special About Me, Mama?

What's Special About Me, Mama?

Kristina Evans, illus. by Javaka Steptoe, Disney-Jump at the Sun, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7868-5274-1

Steptoe's (Amiri and Odette) collages show a quizzical boy with a face full of freckles and a family that cherishes him. First pictured tiptoeing toward, then peeking over the arm of her chair, the boy asks Mama the title question, persisting when the answers don't satisfy him. She cites his physical charms ("Your freckles, Love, and the way the sun kissed your nose and cheeks with just the perfect amount"), but this fails to soothe his doubts ("But Auntie Jade has freckles, too.... What's special about me?"). She praises his personality ("Your laugh, Love"), but this doesn't placate him, either. At last, she convinces him by telling him, "What's special about you, Love, is that you are loved more than anybody in the whole wide world—by me!" Evans (Cherish Today) gives a believable account of a child who needs extra reassurance and a mother who adores him as he is. Steptoe's many pictures of the boy nestled in his parents' arms reinforce the image of a family whose affection is generously given. Ages 3–6. (Jan.)