MAMA IS A MINER by George Ella Lyon

MAMA IS A MINER

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 The narrator, depicted in Catalanotto's impressionistic watercolors as of primary-school age, describes her mother's work in simple, gracefully cadenced sentences occasionally varied with rhythmic verse (``Firedamp, blackdamp,/Fire Boss checks the air./Bad top, kettle bottom:/don't go there''). Mama's journey two miles into the mountain and her different tasks--spreading rock dust to prevent sparks, or shoveling up spilled coal--are briefly described. Lyons also touches on daily events (lunch), dangers (``last month, Eldon's leg got hurt''), and economic necessity, but she focuses on the miners' sensations, contrasting their grueling work with the family life they yearn to return to at day's end. This theme is beautifully extended in the illustrations, where the family and the spotless kitchen that are constantly in Mama's thoughts merge wordlessly with underground scenes, tucked to one side or expanding to an entire spread, while the narrator, too, is imagining what Mama is doing during her day. A sober, richly expressive look at a hard way of life, underlining this mother's courage and uncomplaining persistence. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-531-06853-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Orchard
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1994




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