Monday, April 4, 2011

Book Review: Mad at Mommy by Kamako Sakai

Book: Mad at Mommy
Author: Komako Sakai
Illustrator: Kamako Sakai
Published: 2010
Source: Local Library

A little bunny expresses his resentment over Mommy’s shortcomings (always sleeping in when he wants to play, never lets him watch cartoons). There’s really only one thing to do, and that’s to leave and go someplace far, far away. That’ll sure make Mommy sorry. But little bunny forgot his . . . ball. Yeah, that’s it, his ball. So there’s nothing for it but to come back again.

This is one of those books about the myriad frustrations of childhood, especially when relating to the major power figure in a young child’s life. The reason I love books like this is that they express these emotions without trying to defang them. It’s annoying to be told, “Hurry up, hurry up,”and then have to wait while Mommy chats. No matter how old you are, you can agree with that. Learning to identify, express, and handle emotions is one of the major developmental jobs of childhood. (Of life in general, even, but I digress.)

I would like to talk very knowledgeably about Sakai’s use of gouache or whatever, but the CIP notes have failed me and all I can say is how expressive his frustrated little bunny is. He droops, he scowls, he pouts, expressing bottomless wells of feeling, good and bad, in the angle of an ear or the turn of a head. The voice of the bunny in the text is pitch perfect, so much so that you feel as if you should have a child reading it aloud instead of yourself.

If you’re sick of sugary “Mommy I love you best” books, add this one to your shelf for a welcome dose of real feelings that end up in the same place.

1 comment:

Katie said...

I'm a fellow children's book blogger, and a new follower!

I loved this book, and your review is great - you have a great reviewer's voice, if that makes any sense. Thanks for sharing!