In Our Mothers’ House

In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco

A joyous look at a family with two mothers and children of all different colors, this book is filled with laughter and love.  Children who live in all sorts of families will find themselves at home here as we learn about favorite sun-filled rooms, the surprise of puppies, building a treehouse, and a colorful blockparty.  The book basks in normalcy, family and everyday moments that mean so much to children.  There is a moment when a neighbor expresses her fear about their lifestyle, but that incident too is handled with a gentleness and grace that marks this entire picture book.  As the children grow into adulthood, we get to see the wonderful job of parenting come to fruition.  Most picture books would not need this button at the end, but in this case, it was important to underline this. 

Polacco has created a complete vision of a family here.  Readers get to see them be together for important events and everyday moments.  Her writing invites us into their lives, demonstrates their love for each other and their children, and leaves us hoping that we as parents can do this well.  Children of gay and lesbian parents will find this book a wonderful mirror of their lives, celebrating what two parents of any sex can create in a family.  Polacco’s art enhances the story, underlining the warmth and love that is inherent in the book.

An important book to have in public libraries, this is a real celebration of families and the many forms they come in.  Appropriate for ages 5-9.

Reviewed from copy received from publisher.

Hush, Baby Ghostling

Hush, Baby Ghostling by Andrea Beatty, illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre.

It’s morning, so it’s time for Baby Ghostling to head to bed in their castle tower.  Mother ghost tucks him in and urges him to think about monsters, owls, bats, and more.  She leaves the darkness on in the hall, because he is scared of the light.  And finally, she reassures him that the blonde boy he sees in his dreams is not there because “childlings” are make-believe. 

This is a clever twist on the bedtime story.  I especially like the part about leaving the darkness on in the hall.  Beatty’s text is rhyming and has a nice lilting rhythm.  It is a lullaby of a book where the rhymes work well.  Lemaitre’s illustrations nicely combine a softness of background and light with characters drawn in thick lines.  The parts about the different monsters, bats and owls are illustrated with a variety of beasts, but they appear playing in playgrounds, blowing bubbles, and doing other silly, everyday things.

This is perfect for a Halloween story time with smaller children because it isn’t scary at all.  In fact, children will enjoy being seen as the frightening ones.  Appropriate for ages 2-4.

Reviewed from copy received from publisher.

Also reviewed by Anastasia Suen.