cover image Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle

Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle

Nina LaCour, illus. by Kaylani Juanita. Candlewick, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1151-1

In a book organized into the long days of a parent’s absence, Monday sees its preschool-age, brown-skinned child narrator sharing a pancake breakfast with Mama and Mommy before Mommy leaves on a business trip. After Tuesday brings feelings of missing, Wednesday offers a phone call with Mommy (“My loves! she says. It’s you!”). The family’s longing is shown in an image of two phones close together; Mommy reaches out of one, the child reaches out of the other. Resentment lingers when the parent returns at last, but Mommy is there for it, acknowledging her child’s emotions, naming them, and enfolding them in safety. LaCour gives readers a closely observed portrait of two moms who nurture their child through challenges, while Juanita lavishes attention on detail, lushly capturing facial expressions, figures, and flower petals in an unabashed celebration of familial love. Mama presents as white; Mommy, who is Black, and the child narrator have patches that hint at vitiligo. Ages 3–7. (Mar.)