Mother's Day
    by John Cech

Its Mother's Day this Sunday. The holiday began in 1907 in Philadelphia, as a way to remember a mother who had passed away, and it had become, by Presidential decree in 1914, an occasion to honor all mothers. Three recent books for children are also sending bouquets and loving wishes to this essential figure in all of our lives.

For the little dinosaur child in What Moms Can t Do by Douglas Wood, Moms are totally unlike kids -- they don t like the same things for breakfast; they don t know how to keep salamanders in their shirts; they don t make a shopping cart move fast enough; and they always seem to need a kid around to watch a movie or sit on their lap. The running joke of this book is that we hear these declarations from the child, but then we also observe in Doug Cushmans delightful pictures of this jurassic mother and son, just how aware this kind and playful Mom is of junior s antics, and how she wouldnt have it any other way. When Moms want to step out for a few minutes and leave a sleeping baby with Dad, all sorts of things can happen, as we see and hear in Jonathan Allen s Dont Wake the Baby. Dad has one mishap after another, all of which are accompanied by sound effects in the book. It s a clever, state-of-the art adventure in special effects book making, and the sound chip tells us just how exhausted the whole ordeal has left poor dad at the end of the book, when Mom returns, and finds him snoring and the baby -- well, heres the baby s reaction: (laughing).

Rose Lewiss I Love You Like Crazy Cakes tells the story of a single American woman's decision to adopt a child from China, and of her ultimate journey there to be united with that child, with whom she falls immediately and totally in adoring motherly love. How did this happen? the narrator asks. How did someone make this perfect match a world away? Did the Chinese people have a special window to my soul? She is writing the book to her adopted daughter, trying explain to her the facts of these events. But as we know, and as Jane Dyers extraordinary illustrations show us, there are some things in life -- like the naturally recurrent miracle of love -- that can only be told through their beautiful simplicity.

Copyright 2001 by John Cech

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May 2001
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