The Night Before Mother's Day, by Doug MacLeod & Judy Horaceck

This laugh out loud little offering shows how one mum – who is, in a way, a part of every mum – lies sleepless through the night before Mother’s Day, enumerating the ‘delights’ the day will hold.

‘Twas the Night

before Mother’s Day,

Mum lay awake,

The sense of excitement

Was too much to take.

She knew that tomorrow

Would bring her such joys

As gifts from her daughter

And two darling boys.

This laugh out loud little offering shows how one mum – who is, in a way, a part of every mum – lies sleepless through the night before Mother’s Day, enumerating the ‘delights’ the day will hold. First there will be home made gifts and flowers pulled (with roots intact) from the garden. Then there will be breakfast, made with love, but not easily digested. As Mum tosses and turns she frets about these and the other joys the day ahead holds – before thinking, finally, of her own mum who will understand, having been there herself.

In small format hardcover, with cartoon illustrations, mothers will nod in agreement with the humour of the book, making it an ideal Mother’s Day gift, especially from one mother to another. Of course, in spite of the illustrated format this one is aimed at adults rather than children – with little ones unlikely to appreciate the wry humour, although older children and teens may well get it and join in the laughter.

As for this mother – she loved it!

The Night Before Mother's Day

The Night Before Mother’s Day, by Doug MacLeod & Judy Horacek

Allen & Unwin, 2012

ISBN 9781742379401

This book is available from good bookstores, or online from Fishpond.

I Love My Mum, by Anna Walker

Little zebra, Ollie, takes the reader through a normal sort of day, the sort of day familiar to many mothers and small children. There are everyday tasks like washing and going for a walk. But everyday tasks are new to little people and there is mystery and adventure in the simplest of tasks. The text here is very simple and there is magic in the illustrations. Anna Walker has used watercolours and ensured plenty of white space remains. Ollie is a small stuffed toy, perhaps a zebra, and Mum is a slightly larger version. I Love My Mum is a small format hardback book, perfect for little hands.

Anna Walker’s illustrations are just beautfiul. Her gentle watercolours set in white space allow plenty of room for the reader to bring their own story. It’s easy to imagine sharing I Love My Mum with a small child and revisiting their day or their way of doing things. Walker’s use of an androgynous toy as main character allows wide appeal, although with the pink detail on the cover, it’s most likely this will be a treasured book for a small girl. A lovely book. Recommended for 3-5 yo children. First released in small format hardcover in 2009, it is now available in larger format paperback.
I Love My Mum
I Love My Mum, Anna Walker
Scholastic 2009

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

This book can be purchased online at Fishpond.  Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

I Spy Mum! by Janeen Brian & Chantal Stewart

I spy with my little eye
mums all starting with m.
But can I find the one who’s mine?
Will she be with them?

A young boy sailor is searching for his mum. He sits in his boat and peers out through his telescope. With gentle rhythmic language he tells of the mums he sees. There are drawing mums and roaring mums, making mums and baking mums. But none of them are his. There is a refrain, to let the reader know that the search must continue, and never be given up. Of course, he ultimately finds his own mum and they sail off together on the ocean. Illustrations are watercolour with plenty of white space. Text meanders around the pages, much as the searcher does with his telescope. There is always a sense that he will eventually find his mother.

I Spy Mum! is a celebration of the special relationship between child and mother. It might be on the tennis court, stringing flowers or sailing the seas, but the main point is that children love to share time with their mum. They like doing all sorts with mums, including playing hide and seek. The text is short, the language simple with repetition of sounds, and children will soon be predicting the next word, then ‘reading’ the whole text. The relationships portrayed are varied but all warm and inclusive. I Spy Mum! is a companion to ‘I Spy Dad!’ and will be enjoyed by young, pre-reading and early reading children.

I Spy Mum!

I Spy Mum! Janeen Brian, ill Chantal Stewart
New Frontier 2010
ISBN: 9781921042164

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

This book can be purchased from good bookstores, or online from Fishpond.

Together, by Anna Pignataro

As the sun came down behind
the bramble bushes Oli asked,
‘Mamma, are you there?’
‘I’m right here,’ said Mamma.

Togetherbegins with a child checking that their mother is close by. What follows is an affirmation of mother-child love. The child asks questions, and Mamma tells her that she will always be there. The pair travel from the ‘now’ to the ends of the earth. The ‘now’ of the picture book disappears in Mamma’s reassurance that wherever the child will go, so will she. Illustrations are in pencil and watercolours, gentle and colourful. ‘Together’ is an almost square, small-format hardback. The red cover offers a portal image of Mother and child reading a book together, just as this book is designed to be. Gold embossed lettering of title, author and falling leaves enhance the tactile experience of this book. Endpapers show the journeying child.

Together is a lovely book. The topic is not new, in fact the need for reassurance and affirmation is as old as time. But each new generation needs to learn for themselves what it is to be loved and cherished. The text is very short, with illustrations conveying much of the action. It’s easy to imagine little fingers turning the pages, contributing to the ‘reading’. It is a book to be read and reread for comfort and reassurance. One small quibble is that the child in one spread is pictured holding an attractive-looking but poisonous toadstool (poison to people, if not to teddy bears!) Recommended for preschool-aged children.


Together, Anna Pignataro
Scholastic 2009

This book can be purchased online from Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

Mummies are Amazing, by Catriona Hoy & Annie White

Mummies are for amazing things.

Daddy thinks Mummy is for doing the shopping, and Grandad thinks Mummy is for finding glasses, but the young narrator of this story knows that mummies are for much more important things – mummies are for doing amazing things. From making snakes out of stockings and buses out of boxes, to kissing sore knees better and organising prefect parties, Mummies are amazing – but sometimes they need to FEEL amazing – and then it is up to the people around them to do amazing things for them.

Mummies are Amazing is a delightful book about the wonderful things that mummies do, filled with humour and the joy of families. The mummy in the story and illustrations is lively, lovely and filled with enthusiasm. It seems nothing is too hard for her – from making chicken costumes, to removing splinters and scaring away monsters. The illustrations have lots of cute touches that don’t just bring the text to life, but also provide plenty for children to find and explore.

This gorgeous book is perfect for reading aloud, and would make a lovely gift for Mothers Day.

Mummies are Amazing, by Catriona Hoy & Annie White
Lothian, 2009

M.O.T.H.E.R., by Danny Katz

Whenever I used to have my school sports carnivals, Mum would always give me a little hug and kiss before I left home, and she’d say, ‘Remember, Danny, slow and steady wins the race.’ So when it was time for my race I always ran very slowly, and I always kept my body very steady, and I always came about second last.

With Mother’s Day coming up, this little offering is sure to bring laughter both to mothers and to their children. Comedian Danny Katz shares his observations of mothers and motherhood in a collection of comments and recollections about his own mother, his wife, mother-in-law, and mothers in general.

From the mottos and sayings mothers use, to obsessive cleaning and overprotectiveness, Katz has a keen but affectionate eye for the absurd, which are both witty and very true. Illustrations, by Jenny Griggs, who also designed the book, are simple but amusing, and the design, in small format, with a tactile cover and muted colours, makes this an appealing gift book.


M.O.T.H.E.R., BY Danny Katz
Harper Collins, 2006