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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Because Your Mommy Loves You, written by Andrew Clements and illustrated by R. W. Alley. Clarion Books, Thomas Allen & Son. 2012. $18.99 ages 5 and up

"When the pack on your back
 feels like a giant rock,

your mommy could say,
That looks awfully heavy
for you. Here. I'll carry it!
But she doesn't.

So much to do when a child and his Mom have adventure on their minds. The plan to go camping is mutually made, the destination determined and the preparation work begins. Off  to the sporting goods store, list in hand and inquisitive son at the ready. It's easy to get lost with so much equipment in sight. A frantic call could be answered by an equally frantic mother worried for her child's safety. Instead, she calls his name and lets him find her. He uses all his listening skills to retrace his steps, gets a quiet reminder to stay close and then a warm hug of reassurance. Whew! That part of the preparation is done.

Upon arrival at the hiking trail, and weighed down with needed supplies, the trek begins. Mom could carry the pack when it gets heavy, or the pair can take a break and then explore further. Crossing a stream, picking blueberries, pitching a tent, toasting marshmallows and the cool of the evening each offer a new life lesson. Mom helps by allowing her son, with guidance if needed, to learn it.

I love that this book takes the two outdoors, that it encourages new learning with patience and understanding, that it is a mom and her son encountering the wilderness and its challenges together,
that independence is the goal while support is constant and that 'I love you' is the last thing the little boy hears before settling in after a long and busy day.

It is an exemplary companion to Because Your Daddy Loves You (2005). Once again, R.W. Alley captures each of the feelings felt by both parent and child in his warm and charming illustrations done with watercolor, acrylic and ink. The changing expressions make it clear how both parties feel as they make their way to their destination. Their underlying love and pride are evident on every page!

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