Anyone who is a mother, or has ever had a mother (spoiler alert: that’s EVERYONE) has a soft spot for the celebratory day in which we pause to appreciate the special women in our lives. In observance of Mother’s Day, we offer a trio of books—two notable new releases, and one “vintage” title favorite—that showcase the backbone of the family: our moms.
by Simona Ciraolo (Flying Eye $17.95) Age 3-6
Grandmothers are also honored on Mother’s Day, and this recent release by award-winning Sardinian author Simona Ciraolo offers youngsters a window into the rich lives of these beloved family members.
Buoyant illustrations in crayon and watercolor depict a little girl who wonders why her Nana sometimes looks sad, surprised, and worried – all at the same time. After Nana attributes this to the ever-changing lines on her face, she reveals that each wrinkle holds a very special memory. It’s this imaginative device that turns the lines of old-age into wonderful moments to be celebrated: the crow’s feet from a boisterous seaside picnic, the forehead furrow from solving a long-ago mystery, and the laugh lines from the joyous birth of the questioning granddaughter herself.
Each memory is fully illustrated, and reinforces the unique, and unbreakable intergenerational bonds we can share with loved-ones.
by Varsha Bajaj, illustrated by Eliza Wheeler (Nancy Paulson $16.99) Age 2-6
A baby elephant is born, and the world rejoices! Our youngest readers can easily follow the simple yet rich vocabulary of lilting, repetitive rhymes that showcase the matriarchal elephant family, and colorful depictions of playful monkey friends and resplendent peacocks.
With echoes of “The Lion King,” their wide-eyed baby is cradled with love, and wastes no time exploring its wonderfully illustrated natural world. Radiant watercolors contrast the elephants’ dappled gray, against the rich gold and green Indian hill country, and imbue the environment with a sense of peaceful calm.
This story is delightful, engaging, soothing—and celebrates the importance of family and community.
by P.D. Eastman (Random House; prices vary) Age 2-6
First published in 1960, this enchantingly simple story of a baby bird searching for its mother has been a sentimental favorite—and baby shower staple—for decades. Eastman’s simple illustrations depict each character’s playful personality, as our baby bird approaches things animate (including a kitten, dog and cow) and not (a car, boat and steam shovel) searching for the kerchief-clad Mrs. Bird. It’s a great way to learn vocabulary, while reinforcing the unbreakable bond between mother and child.
Though it’s now available in several versions—including washable cloth and sturdy board, both heavily abridged—we recommend the classic hardcover, which is now also available in a bilingual English-Spanish version.