This third-wave-feminist text is illustrated by photo collages of human mothers loving their children.
Bold, black lettering marches across strips of white on the first two pages, proclaiming, “Babies love mamas… / and mamas love babies.” Sound familiar? Wait until readers learn how mamas express that love. Both text and art dive into areas generally untouched by traditional mother-love picture books; from the beginning, the text emphasizes, in a string of upbeat sentences, the idea that mothers use their bodies to show their love. In support, the art offers a plethora of unsurprising photographs encompassing many activities, professions, and low-wage jobs—as well as some startling ones. There’s a pregnant woman practicing yoga—caring for her baby in utero—a woman unabashedly breast-feeding, and a sign-wielding strip-tease artist outside a nightclub (“some mamas dance all night long in special shoes. It’s hard work!”). A colorful gallery is packed onto pages printed on paper stock that’s sturdy enough for many toddlers. Throughout the book, the art consists of black-and-white photographs—most, apparently, from the 1960s-’70s era of second-wave, U.S. feminism—enhanced with bright colors, patterns, and materials. Mothers of many different ethnicities, walks of life, and lifestyles are shown loving their equally varied children, whether by caring for them at home or by working outside the home to earn money. Vintage-appearing photographs include marchers with the signs “We are the 51% minority” and “We shall overcome.”
Not for motherless kids—but otherwise, amazingly inclusive. (Picture book. 2-5)