Using a board-book format, McCourt brings a message of unconditional parental love and support to the youngest story listeners.
As in earlier, standard-format books in the series, an inquisitive child imagines increasingly preposterous scenarios, asking Mama to imagine whether the child might be successful in each. The story starts with the child's plausible desire to draw the “most exciting picture ever.” Mama's encouraging response is accompanied by an homage to Van Gogh's Starry Night created by this obviously gifted child. The situations become increasingly unlikely, but Mama patiently, reassuringly, and consistently voices her confidence in her child's ability to overcome obstacles, conquer fear, and triumph over adversity: “You can do it, Stinky Face!” The blond child clad in striped leggings and a plain, purple top is satisfyingly androgynous, allowing both girls and boys to put themselves in that place. With far more words and plot than in most board books, this offering really exceeds the board-book audience. Given the small (5 inches by 6 inches) format, it is challenging to appreciate the details in the bright, colorful illustrations, which compete with the extensive text for attention. The small format makes it suitable only for one-to-one sharing, though the message would be ideal for parent education programs.
Sentiment, text, and illustrations all cry out for a reissue in a larger format. (Board book. 3-5)