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'Mother's Day'     Send a link to a friend

[MAY 5, 2004]  "Mother's Day," by Anne Rockwell, illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell, Harper Collins Publishers, 32 pages, ages 3-7

Review by Marlene Perry

It's the week before Mother's Day and Eveline can't tell her mother what she will be doing at school that day -- it's a big secret! She heads off for the day with a gold button in hand, to be used for a very special project. Eveline's teacher, Mrs. Madoff, asks each student to explain how he or she will celebrate the upcoming holiday. But what are all the buttons for?

Anne Rockwell's new book reveals many different ways that this holiday can be celebrated, while exposing children to the many variations of a family unit.

Some of the children's stories tell of plans to surprise their mothers. Kate's dad has been teaching her to play the violin while her mom is at work. She will surprise her mother with a special song. Nicholas will surprise his animal-loving mom with a puppy that he picked out especially for her.

Other children's activities have been prearranged with their mom. Sam's whole family will go shopping to buy a new table and chairs, while Michiko and her father will take her mother on an all-day trip to the biggest museum in the city. Charlie's mom is sharing her special day by hosting a baby shower for her sister, who will soon become a mother herself.

Many different family units are portrayed in Mother's Day: traditional two-parent families, single parents, siblings or none, even a grandmother who lives with Sarah and her dad because the girl's mother has died. They all plan to celebrate this day in a way that is important to the mother or "mother figure" of their family.


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Now, for what is that special button to be used? Eveline's teacher has invited her own mother to the class, and her mom shows the children how to make a very special gift for their moms (as many young ones do in their own classes). Written into the story at this point are instructions on how these paper flowers with button centers are made by Eveline and her classmates. Your child may also want to make one of these flowers for a special someone in their life.

This story has its satisfying conclusion on Mother's Day, with Eveline serving her mom breakfast in bed. On the tray, of course, is the beautiful flower that Eveline proudly presents.

To the reader's delight -- and quite appropriately -- "Mother's Day" is written and illustrated by a mother-daughter duo who have collaborated on several other children's books. Lizzy Rockwell's simple but richly colorful drawings are well suited for children. The classroom setting, the teacher's character and the glimpses into the children's family life are a theme that the author and illustrator have successfully explored many times in their books. This repetition creates a predictable familiarity that children enjoy.

If your child likes this book, they will love to hear "Career Day," "Show and Tell Day," "100 School Days," "Valentine's Day" and "Thanksgiving Day," by this same team. All of these books can be found in the Youth Services Department of Lincoln Public Library. Visit us at 725 Pekin St. or call (217) 732-5732.

[Marlene Perry, Lincoln Public Library District]

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