cover image M.O.M. (Mom Operating Manual)

M.O.M. (Mom Operating Manual)

Doreen Cronin, illus. by Laura Cornell. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (56p) ISBN 978-1-4169-6150-5

With tongue firmly planted in cheek, Cronin (Rescue Bunnies) offers children detailed advice on how to better understand and deal with one’s mother. This troubleshooting guide provides step-by-step instructions for addressing moms who don’t get enough of the daily basics, “Sleep, Nutrition, Exercise, and Water, or SNEW for short.” Amazing factoids (“Remarkably, despite their size, moms can sleep on as little as three inches of bed”) and warnings (“Do not bother your mom when she is eating in the garage”) pack the pages. Cornell (My Mommy Hung the Moon) channels some serious Roz Chast in spreads that demonstrate a gleeful, knowing abandon, with frequent comparisons to the animal kingdom (in one scene, children pick “pieces of debris, soil, vegetation, and dried food” from their mother à la monkeys) and overwhelmed mothers in various silly situations. Cornell’s cartoons make the book (somewhat) more kid-friendly, but it’s parents who will get the biggest chuckle out of its humor and technical wordiness. Nonetheless, the message is writ large (and sometimes covered with baby food, coffee, or grass stains): moms are pretty indispensable. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)