Mothers' Day Magic
Mothers' Day - an accumulation of so many things: the caress of a gentle hand when you’re feeling less than yourself; the comfort of a kind voice that understands your deepest thoughts; the knowledge that someone is always there for you no matter what. These are the attributes of motherhood that should be celebrated every day, by all those who administer them and receive them. Here are two picture books that exemplify the goodness of motherhood and its importance in the notion of family.
Isla’s Family Tree
Isla is a little girl with tangerine coloured hair and some serious worries. She is struggling with the realisation that any day now, her family is about to change. As we all know change can bring with it a suitcase full of concern and what ifs. We can only guess what Isla’s might be but as the firstborn it seems pretty obvious that she is anxious about the threat of her impending new sibling. ‘Our family is too full!’ she protests. And then her mother informs her, they are having twins!
Her heavily pregnant mother with hair like her daughter’s, embarks on a beautiful session of arts and crafts with Isla. Together they construct their family tree which includes Isla’s three aunties on her mother’s side and their offspring, some adopted, some blended, all much loved like her. Each leaf of their tree is a precious family member supported on its own sturdy branch stemming from the trunk that represents her grandma and granddad. The tree is beautiful but Isla still frets over its ability to hold anymore leaves let alone two more on her branch. ‘There’s no room left…’ bemoans Isla. She can barely snuggle on her mother’s shrinking lap so feels the twins have already taken up more room than they deserve.
Her mother gently reminds her that family trees keep growing and changing as families do but Isla remains unconvinced and conjures up a plan to outsource her new siblings to her cousins’ homes where there is more room. It’s not until the twins arrive and love takes hold that Isla redirects her efforts to nourish her family tree.
Isla’s Family Tree is an up close look at ancestry giving care givers, educators and parents the opportunity to explore a child’s genealogy in a relatable and creative way. It addresses the age old dilemma of expanding families and the distress associated with new family structures whether they arise from new additions or because of the diversification of an existing family. Same sex couple families and adoption themes slide smoothly into Isla’s story and strengthen the value of this tale. I absolutely adore Prue Pittock’s truncated use of colours and the cute parallels between Isla and her mother. Linear line illustrations punctuated with pops of warm pinks and oranges are more than enough to give a sense of fun to McKelvey’s purpose driven narrative.
This picture book is a true joy to read aloud making it ideal for any mother (or grandmother!) figure to share with a child. And just like Isla and her mama and author, Katrina McKelvey and her daughter, you can try to make your own family tree or even better…forest!
Title: Isla’s Family Tree
Author: Katrina McKelvey
Illustrator: Prue Pittock
Publisher: EK Books, $24.99
Publication Date: April 2020
For ages: 4 – 8
Type: Picture Book
Buy the Book: EK Books, Booktopia, Boomerang Books
Alphaprints: Australian Animals Mothers and Babies
I’m just in love with the Alphaprints collection of board books that use a combination of vivid colours, tactile prints and zany picture mashups to portray simple explanatory narratives.
This edition focuses on the relationships between mothers and babies of the Australian persuasion and includes favourites like kangaroos and joeys as well as some other cute critters like quokkas and cassowaries, even turtles and stingrays! Encased on hard wearing board pages able to withstand a lifetime of page turning, each spread features the mother and her offspring. Nomenclature is embedded in simple engaging verse and each animal’s body is a fingerprint with embossed raised indentations giving littlies something to feel as they stroke their way through these fun pages.
There is endless joy and discovery secreted within this simple yet impactful reading experience: crocodiles with scales of pizza and banana tails; nailbrush echidnas turn spikey to side-splitting; and have you ever encountered a dingo with avocado ears!
I only wish I had a toddler to share this ridiculously entertaining book with. Alphaprints Australian Mothers and Babies is the perfect under-fives' book to cuddle up with on Mothers’ Day.
Don’t forget to check out other titles in the Alphaprints series too. Stunning!
Title: Alphaprints: Australian Animals Mothers and Babies
Author: Roger Priddy with Will Putnam and Kylie Hamley
Illustrator: Jo Ryan and Emily Bornoff
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Priddy Books imprint, $12.99
Publication Date: January 2020
For ages: 0 – 5
Type: Non Fiction Board Book
Buy the Book: Pan Macmillan, Booktopia, Boomerang Books