Because Carol Oliva Clementine cannot live with Mommy and Daddy, the child lives with Mama Rose.
Carol Oliva Clementine, a light-brown–skinned child with a sandy-red afro puff, describes life with Mama Rose, a dark-skinned black woman. Readers don’t learn why Carol Oliva Clementine came to live with Mama Rose. While readers also aren’t told how long they’ve lived together, Carol Oliva Clementine describes two birthdays with Mama Rose: the fifth, when the child received a watch and learned to tell time, and the sixth, when Mama Rose gave her little one a yellow bicycle. Carol Olivia Clementine is presented as a happy and carefree little child who misses Mommy and Daddy but is also happy to live with Mama Rose, who lovingly calls the child Lady Bug. The illustrations are bright and playful, conveying the deep warmth of affection between the two. One spread in which Mama Rose does her charge’s hair and then swaddles Carol Olivia Clementine for winter play bears out the truth of the title. It is curious, however, that Carol Olivia Clementine and Mama Rose wear the same clothing throughout the book even though multiple seasons pass. In an author’s note, Duncan tells of her own experience with a kinship adoption.
A beautiful story of love and kinship, so needed for the many children living apart from their nuclear families. (Picture book. 3-6)