Prather’s Pick: A book about unconditional love
Recently, while I was browsing through books in the children’s room at the Craig Library, I was drawn to the colorful illustrations of a lovable mother fox and her baby on the covers of a couple of picture books. I chose “No Matter What,” written by Debi Gliori, to review in this week’s column. The book will leave children feeling good all over.
The main characters of the book are Large, the mother fox, and her son, Small. One day Small is walking down a grassy, flower-covered hill toward home, pulling a wooden chicken on wheels behind him. Just down the hill some sheep are grazing in a pasture and ducks are swimming in a pond. Small has a sad look on his face.
Large is propped up against the wall, talking on a phone. The house is what a person might expect for a fox family. On the wall is a drawing of a sheep with its body parts drawn out and labeled—such as “neck” and “bellyup.” A chicken calendar also hangs on the wall, and a roasted chicken waits on the table. The mama fox has been cleaning. She wears one glove and the other is draped over her arm. A mop waits in a bucket of water.
Small’s mood hasn’t changed since he has gotten home. He’s feeling grim and grumpy. He kicks a stuffed animal and then throws a fit. He turns the bucket of mop water over his head, overturns furniture, and even breaks his chicken pull toy. Mama fox wants to know what’s going on.
“I’m grim and grumpy said little Small and I don’t think you love me at all.” ( One thing that makes the book so delightful is that the story is told in rhyme. )
Large picks up her son and assures him that she will always love him, but Small isn’t so sure. Now he begins to question his mother. What if he were a baby grizzle bear gnawing on some bones? Mama fox says she would love him anyway and she would feed him some soup.
What if he were a squish bug? The illustration of the big green bug is hilarious. He sits in a high chair, each of his “hands” holding utensils and a bowl of soup. The bug has huge antennae and wings. Of course Mama would love him. She would put him to bed in an empty seed pod and read him a story.
No matter what animal Small invents, Large assures him that she would love him. Then she holds him on her lap as he repairs his chicken pull toy, a not easy job. Small has tape wound around his tail and glue all over the floor. But Large uses it as an example of how love can be mended or repaired.
This week’s lovable book was published by Harcourt Brace & Co. The hardcover book costs about $16.00 in hardcover or find it at the library.
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