A boy asks his mother a simple question and receives a not-so-simple answer.
Mario’s mother lists some of the many reasons people cry in sensitively nuanced metaphors layered with emotional truths. Each spread prints one word or phrase in a slightly larger font than the rest, subtly but effectively drawing readers’ attention to a particular feeling. Among the obvious are “sadness,” “anger,” and “happy.” The more nuanced concepts include “grow,” “lock,” and “wall,” which the surrounding text and illustrations help convey. All the while, readers see a young girl, perhaps the mother when she was young, experiencing these emotions. Encapsulating it all, Mario’s mother finally says, “But more than anything, sweetheart, we cry because we feel like crying.” In the backmatter, Pintadera further answers other, scientifically based questions about tears, such as “What are tears made of?” and “Why are tears good for us?” While the scientific perspective at first seems out of place in such an emotional book, it helps remove some of the stigma surrounding the act of crying. The text assures readers that tears are a natural biological function with several purposes: “Who cries?…crying is universal, just like laughter.” Additional discussion activities prompt readers to make personal connections. This book, originally published in Spain, features a pale-skinned, black-haired parent and child. The textured images generate appropriate moods, providing powerful symbolic visuals for the addressed emotions. Many could hang in an art gallery as part of a surrealist collection.
This exploration of tears is reassuring and nonjudgmental. (Picture book. 3-8)