P.D. Eastman's Are You My Mother?
Children's book review by Steve Barancik
A book about being lost...and found!
You'll understand if this book has a special place in my heart. It's the first book I remember being read to me.
A mama bird is sitting on her egg when the egg shakes. Mama realizes this means her child will shortly be here. "He will want to eat," she thinks.
So she flies away in search of food. While she's gone, her egg hatches. And this baby of hers, well, he's rather advanced.
You see, he knows he should have a mother. No one told him. He just knows. I mean, shouldn't every child?
And since she isn't here, he heads off in search of her, finding, in order,
...he asks each the same question:
Are You My Mother?
They all deny responsibility. So he asks,
The backhoe's answer is to place him back in the nest, where Mom promptly returns with a worm. "Do you know who I am?" she asks.
Indeed, he does.
It's a simple story, and Eastman takes his time telling it, and telling it well. (It was one of the best selling books of the 20th century.)
This is a comfort book, meant for telling and re-telling, meant to make a child feel secure in knowing that parents are there even when it seems they're not.
The book is published under a Dr. Seuss imprint, though you'll find the text much more straightforward and the drawings much less whimsical than Seuss's own. Like I said, Eastman supplies comfort and security, though not at the expense of some thrills.
This newborn bird is out navigating his new world, remember!
Are You My Mother? is that book you keep handy for a day that featured some scares or disappointments, some owies or hurt feelings. Then you read it just before a big hug and lights out.
Just like my mom did!
More great Mother's Day books, reviewed on this site.
Read more of Steve's reviews.
Webmaster's note: Adoptive parents, author Keiko Kasza wrote a response to Eastman's book, perfect for kids who aren't living with a birth mother and birth father. It's called, A Mother for Choco, and it's every bit as sweet and heartwarming as the book we just told you about!
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