Best books about moms
The kids wake you up, push gluey homemade greeting cards in your sleepy face, and ply you with burnt pancakes and coffee so bitter your office wouldn’t serve it. Happy Mother’s Day!
And what better way to top off this undigestible but sweet breakfast in bed than with some food for thought: a book about that special bond between mother and child. Here’s a look at some of the best in the bookstores this year.
If you’re one of the many moms who work outside the home these days, you might want to consider plumping up your pillows and offering your offspring some comforting stories about latchkey kids. With grace and gentle pastel illustrations, My Mom Travels A Lot, by Caroline Feller Bauer (Puffin Books, $3.95), helps kids understand that Mom loves them even if she can’t always materialize exactly when she’s wanted. In the story, a little girl tries to evaluate the advantages and drawbacks of having a mom who isn’t home much. The realistic conclusion: The best part is that she always returns. Using wit and real-life wisdom to tackle the topic for slightly older kids, Ramona and Her Mother, by Beverly Cleary (Avon Camelot, $3.50) tells of feisty 7 1/2-year-old Ramona, who tries to get attention from her working mom by making all sorts of trouble — until she learns that her mom loves her even when they can’t be together.
Turning to another topical motherhood theme, stepmoms and single moms who want to convey a message of maternal love can find excellent books tailored to their situations. My Wicked Stepmother, written by Norman Leach and richly illustrated by Jane Browne (MacMillan, $13.95), eloquently expresses a little boy’s fear of his new mother-by-marriage. In anger, he calls her a wicked stepmother and, to his surprise, she bursts into tears. He learns that she’s not a witch, just an ordinary woman who wants his love.
Dealing with a more universal theme, Even If I Did Something Awful, by Barbara Shook Hazen (Aladdin Books, $3.95), shows that a mother’s love lasts a lifetime, no matter what. In this straightforward, perceptive tale, a little girl asks her mom if she would still love her if she got orange crayon on the carpet. Her mother responds with a very comforting — but not indulgent-answer: ”I’d love you even if you crayoned the whole house. But I’d make you clean it up.” The immutable bond between mother and child is also demonstrated in the beautifully rendered classic The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown (Harper Trophy, $3.95). Young kids will love this charming story about a baby bunny whose mother promises to run after him no matter where he goes or what he becomes. They will also delight in Clement Hurd’s boldly colorful and whimsical illustrations of the bunnies transforming themselves into mountaineers, acrobats, and even sailboats.
For preteens, finally, there’s the outrageously funny Freaky Friday (Harper Trophy, $3.95), by Mary Rodgers. Thirteen-year-old Annabel Andrews wakes up one morning in her mother’s body and suddenly finds herself trying to run a house and raise a family — and being more of a worrywart than her mom is. While the idea of the traditional housewife mom who irons her husband’s shirts may not be cutting edge, the book’s main lesson endures: Being a good mom is no easy task, any day of the year. My Mom Travels a Lot: B+ Ramona and Her Mother: B+ My Wicked Stepmother: A Even If I Did Something Awful: A- The Runaway Bunny: A Freaky Friday: B+