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MAMA, WHY? by Karma Wilson


by Karma Wilson and illustrated by Simon Mendez

Age Range: 3 - 5

Pub Date: March 22nd, 2011
ISBN: 978-1-4169-4205-4
Publisher: McElderry

A lullaby featuring a polar bear mother and cub joins the legions of other tales of young ones asking their mothers the familiar—why? “When the moon sails high in the Artic sky, / Polar cub asks, ‘Mama, why?’ / Mama answers, ‘Moon floats up there / to say good night to polar bears. / He glides above to shine sweet dreams / and sends them down on silver beams.’” Mama adds, “When the moon sends dreams of princes and queens, / he turns wondrous stories into dreams.” While the sleepy polar cub continues to ask “why” in response to each of his mother’s lyrical explanations, the mixed-media illustrations imbue a dreamy quality to the spare text. Amid the misty aura, the bears are almost photographically realistic, especially their fur texture. Mendez sprinkles stars liberally about his spreads, their luster adding to the silvery sheen of the moon against the dark Arctic night, as if channeling Thomas Kinkade. As Mama’s explanations grow ever more fanciful, he incorporates fanciful imagery from the standard (pirate ships, royal coaches) to refreshingly original (bears and a trio of seals put together in the night sky). The overall effect is soothing, affectionate, precious and cozy—practically guaranteed to lull little ones to sleep. (Picture book. 3-5)