Prather’s Pick: Books that celebrate mother
Sunday is Mother’s Day, and this week’s column celebrates mothers everywhere with two picture books intended for children that are guaranteed to be enjoyed by readers of all ages, especially mothers.
“First Mothers,” written by Beverly Gherman and illustrated by Julie Downing, is a book of fun facts about the mothers of our presidents, 43 mothers and one stepmother. The book is published by Clarion Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (2012).
The book is well-researched, with an extensive bibliography. An author’s note at the end of the book explains how much work went into its writing. The almost caricature-like illustrations help make the book entertaining, indeed.
The book begins with Mary Ball Washington, George Washington’s mother. She had a hard life, losing her husband when she was only 35. Perhaps tough times made her a worrier, and she worried a lot about George. Would he go down with his ship in the King’s Navy, for example? She was not impressed with any of his accomplishments — not even when he became America’s first president.
Nancy Hanks Lincoln was a wrestler. When Abe was 9, she died, and his father married Sarah Bush Johnston. She brought a sense of humor and some treasures into the home, such as books that Abe enjoyed.
Two Bush mothers are featured. Dorothy Walker Bush, George H.W. Bush’s mother, was an athlete. It is said that she was nine months pregnant when she joined a softball team. She hit a home run and then rushed to the hospital to give birth to her first child.
Barbara Pierce Bush, George W. Bush’s mother, was often requested at the principal’s office at school when George was a boy. She thought he was the most similar to herself of all her children, and his mouth got him into trouble.
The book ends with mother number 44, Stanley Ann Dunham, President Barack Obama’s mother. The book is filled with interesting, fun facts, and even though it’s a children’s book, I want to have it in my library.
The book costs $17.99 in hardcover, and you can find it at the Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries.
Endearing is the word that best describes “You Made Me a Mother.” The book is intended for children age 4 to 8, but I think mothers will love it. It was written by Laurenne Sala and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. The book is one of memories recalled by the mother, and the beautiful illustrations help the reader feel the bond between mother and child.
The story actually begins on the credit pages. A young pregnant, blond-haired woman is walking somewhere while carrying a large box, topped with a big bow. A cute dog follows her. The illustration on the next page shows what was in the box. It’s a rather large, stuffed elephant made from blue-checked print. The dog checks the elephant out and then curls up beside it and goes to sleep.
I enjoy the beginning illustrations because the dog and elephant are included in the rest of the book, too. The dog is adorable. The reader feels the gentleness of the book as Mother experiences her pregnancy, greets her eight-pound baby and enjoys being part of his life as he grows up. What a beautiful book.
“You Made Me a Mother” is published by Harper (2016) and costs $15.99 in hardcover.
You can also find this book in the children’s room at the library.
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