It should be mandatory, I believe, for every pregnant woman to receive a copy of On the Day You Were Born at her shower. Or for Mother’s Day, perhaps. I will go so far as to say that it may not be possible to fully appreciate this book until you are a mother or expectant mother (or an especially sensitive father). With bright pictures, Debra Frasier charts the everyday wonder around us that makes it possible for all of us to live on this earth. Maybe this will be enough to move you, but wait, there’s still more. Maybe it will be the line “While you waited in darkness, tiny knees curled to chin...” that chokes you up. Personally, I can’t get to the end without tearing up. I’ll give you the ending here so you will rush out and buy this book for every mom you have ever known.
“On the day you were born, the Earth turned, the Moon pulled, the Sun flared, and, then, with a push, you slipped out of the dark quiet where suddenly you could hear... a circle of people singing with voices familiar and clear.
‘Welcome to the spinning world,’ the people sang, as they washed your new tiny hands.
‘Welcome to the green Earth,’ the people sang, as they wrapped your wet, slippery body.
And as they held you close they whispered into your open, curving ear,
‘We are so glad you’ve come!’”
I got choked up just writing that. And so you can bring this book out even as your kids get older, the back pages tell about the science behind the pages migrating animals, spinning earth, flaming sun bringing a whole other level to this book. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
My next favorite book is also kind of sappy, but again, will strike a chord in moms who have taken their child to day care. I’ve seen many books that address the first day of preschool or school, but the implication is that once the first day is over everything is hunky dory. If you have taken a child to day care, especially a young child, you will know that is not the case. For weeks at a time your honey bunny will go to day care/preschool without a glance back. And just as you are feeling comfortable, along comes a period of whining, begging, and crying. And that’s just you. Your toddler or preschooler is doing that and clinging to your leg with some kind of death grip. You pry your child off, hand her to the teacher, and feel guilty as you drive away to work. There is almost no worse moment of angst for a parent. Unless you include when you go to pick up the child from day care, and SHE DOESN’T WANT TO LEAVE! Kids will drive you crazy.
Kathi Appelt must know what we go through, because she has written the perfect book for toddlers, preschoolers, and their anguished parents. In Oh My Baby, Little One, the mother hen drops her chick off at day care, reminding him that her love is with him all through the day. We watch him go through the familiar routine of school, but knowing that mommy always loves him. Different from most books of this type, we also see mom at work and how the child’s love stays with her also. Then at the end, we find that the best part of her day is coming back together. The message is sweet, the pictures are lovely, and there’s a surprise. In every picture, there is a heart sometimes hidden, sometimes obvious and it is fun to read the book and find the hearts together. This book got me and my daughters through some tough stages, so it has my complete recommendation.
All right, with this last book recommendation you will feel like you know me again, because it is a little different, starting with the title, When Mommy Was Mad. Lynne Jonell really knows how to capture the feeling of frustration in a household when everyone is having a bad day. In her story, Mommy is in a grumpy mood, and the two brothers try to figure out what they did wrong. They try to fix it, but Mommy is still in a bad mood even when the youngest shows her a picture of a porcupine (borkupine) he made. He loses it with a tantrum and starts “borking” mom because he is a “borkupine.” She breaks out of her mood, “smoothes down the prickles,” and they all cuddle. I love the dual message in this book, that sometimes moms are just in a bad mood, and that moms need to remember that their bad moods affect their kids. What a great way to explain to kids that moms are actually just people who have good days and bad days. I read this book at my storytimes every chance I get.
So there, I have revealed that I am a big softy and given out three perfect books to share for Mother’s Day, or to give as a gift for that new/newish mom you love. I’ll spend my Mother’s Day reading grown-up books and avoiding all work related to the raising of children. Ironic, isn’t it.