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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Mad at Mommy, written and illustrated by Komako Sakai. Scholastic, 2010. $19.99 ages 3 and up

"You always sleep late,
especially on Saturdays.
Always and always."

It is so important for all children to see themselves in the books that they read, or that are read to them. When they see others dealing with their personal issues they get the feeling that they are not alone in this world. In this perfect book about a young rabbit and the anger he feels at his mother, Komako Sakai proves yet again, as she did in The Snow Day (Scholastic, 2009), that she has an honest empathy for young children and their actions. She makes the story so real and serious for the young bunny, while adding just the right touch of humor and a satisfying solution.
That tantrum is a result of a variety of misdemeanors on his mother's part...scolding when he's in the tub, sleeping in on Saturday morning, hogging the TV remote, late pickups at school. The list of wrongdoings seems endless. Those downtrodden children who see their own predicament on these pages will nod their heads in wonder that others face the same fate, while parents sharing the story will quietly take note of the illustrated happenings that lie at the heart of the matter.

Bret would certainly agree with one observation:

"And you always tell me to hurry up--hurry up--hurry up--but then you never hurry up yourself,"  I remember the times when we would go to the mall together, in a hurry to get something done, only to be stopped by visits with friends and neighbors. He would silently wait for me to be done, and rarely say a word. But, the message was evident.

It is not until the end of the list that we come face to face with what might have triggered the rant...he has just discovered that he cannot marry his mother. The anger overflows and he uses growing bigger and leaving home as his final threat. Off he stomps, out the door and gone....for one short minute.

What is not conveyed in the short text is cleverly abundant in the muted illustrations. First, look very closely at the cover art...ah, the true feelings are very clear. Each new picture serves up the strength of the bond between mother and son while allowing him his say in the workings of the household. Each is a treasure, a perfect match for this fine story.

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