Review: A Mother Is A House

God love our mums.

I know, I know; it’s no longer Mother’s Day. But that’s not quite true is it? Each and every day is a testament, or should be, to the stoic, tireless, selfless, fatigue-hazed, love-filled actions of mothers – everywhere. They walk with their hearts exposed, vulnerable, fierce, at times, uncertain. Always there, which is the crux of this unique picture book on motherhood, A Mother Is a House.

Rather like a kangaroo nursing her joey in her pouch, safe, contained and snug, I cherished pregnancy, mourning the day when bub would eventually want out. But how does a baby perceive this perplexing first coming of age? What do they make of their mother? Sustainer of life. Guardian. Advisor. Mountain. House? A Mother Is a House affords readers a baby’s fascinating view point of this relationship from moments before their birth to their first tentative steps some 12 months later.

Brief descriptive declarations carry reader and baby through the day to day activities baby’s mother experiences with them and crucially because of them. These moments are delightfully mundane and everyday ordinary occurrences: hauling home the groceries, tummy time, vacuuming, feeding time (a permanent fountain…) yet are told with words as soft and nourishing as a mother’s kiss and permit beautiful illustrative interpretations of each assertion. For example: A mother’s an island, is accompanied by a gorgeous picture of mother in the bathtub with baby straddled across her belly like a baby otter. A highway for driving…depicts our growing infant using his mother’s various dips and curves to manoeuvre his toy cars and animals from one place to another. More than just feeder and playmate, a mother’s also a doctor, a safe harbour in any storm, a roof in the street (thanks to a large trusty umbrella!) always with you wherever you roam. Truly, she is your home.

A stalwart father figure is represented in nearly every spread however despite showing obvious support from the time of birth to laundry folding, this second parent is never referred to in the text affording mum full focus. The stripped back simplicity, bright contemporary illustrations (which possess an almost retro feel) and pulsing pink font supply an air of playfulness and depict more detail than is first noticed as baby grows and explores their world, forms attachments (bubby’s sweet rabbit blanky toy is reminiscent of  a lot of treasured comforters) and, with every shared heartbeat, learns.

Central to this stirring story is the intense unfathomable love shared by mother and child, which in due course will be amplified when a mother (or father or grandparent) shares this story with their own offspring. Author illustrator, Aurore Petit highlights those first informative months with confident use of language and ink suppling a tender walk down memory lane for many of us as well as a memorable keepsake for mothers experiencing the joy of motherhood for the first time. Yes, this would have been great to slide in between the slippers on mother’s day but I urge you to present this to her anytime of the year. It’s the perfect welcome-new-baby gift, too! Highly recommended.

Title: A Mother Is A House
Author Illustrator: Aurore Petit
Publisher: Walker Books Australia, Gecko Press Imprint, $27.99
Publication Date: 3 March 2021
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9791776573233
For ages: +1 – 100
Type: Picture Book

Buy the Book: Walker Books Australia, Gecko Press, Boomerang Books


Norah Colvin said…
This book sounds just gorgeous, Dimity.
DimbutNice said…
I am a fan I must admit, Norah. Twd make a great gift / keepsake. D x

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