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MILA MISSES MOMMY by Judith  Koppens


From the Mila series

by Judith Koppens ; illustrated by Anouk Nijs

Pub Date: May 4th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-60537-623-3
Publisher: Clavis

Mila misses Mommy, but her teacher and friends at school help her get through the day.

Mila, a small Black girl, lives with her mommy on some days and with her daddy on others. Today, her mommy drops her off at school and must leave without ceremony. Her racially diverse classmates are playing with puzzles and building towers, but Mila doesn’t feel like joining in. When it’s time to clean up and time for snack, Mila doesn’t feel like tidying or eating. Her tummy hurts. Her teacher, who is White, diagnoses the problem as a case of Mila missing her mommy. She assures Mila that everyone misses their mommy sometimes. After her friends agree, they play dress-up with Mila to help her forget about her sadness. Mila feels better and appreciates her friends. The narrative is written in a simple, repetitive first-person voice from Mila’s point of view. Mila’s plight is a familiar one, and the diagnosis and solution are somewhat instructive. However, the provision of answers and solutions from others feels unsatisfying, and the switch in her focus through distraction falls flat. The illustrations, saturated with bright colors and textured like crayon drawings, do little to clarify Mila’s emotional state or enhance the story arc. The thin, all-black, faux handprinting type is a bit difficult to read, particularly when set against dark backgrounds.

This Dutch/Flemish import doesn’t quite accomplish what it sets out to do.

(Picture book. 3-7)