Ostensibly a guide for children on the care and feeding of mothers, this lengthy picture book has unlikely kid appeal but may emerge as the hit of the soccer-mom and baby-shower circuits.
Cornell ratchets up the humor of her cartoon-style illustrations to depict Cronin’s “Brief Historical Overview” from “Prehistoric Sludge Mom” to “Cave Mom” to “Pilgrim” and “Hippie Mom(s).” The book focuses, however, on contemporary motherhood’s challenges, telling children “there are many things you can do to ensure many years of trouble-free operation” of their moms, who need regular amounts of “SNEW” (sleep, nutrition, exercise and water) for optimal performance. Following pages humorously describe how to guarantee sufficient SNEW levels and recount the perils of its inadequate delivery. Cronin’s conceit gets a little tired, particularly when resorting to placing blame for the “Malfunctioning Mom” or “Cranky Mom” on fathers, but Cornell’s well-designed and well-paced spreads make the most of every bit of textual humor.
In this era of Tiger Mothers, attachment parenting, the mommy track and The Three-Martini Playdate, Cronin and Cornell’s collaboration will strike a nerve with moms looking for a laugh and a bit of validation—if only they can find the time to read it! (Picture book. Adult)