Mom gets to be the star in this follow-up to My Dad is the Best Playground (2012).
Describing all of mom’s duties as circus acts, the book reveals the everyday life of mom and two toddlers, likely fraternal twins, of indeterminate gender. Mom is a working mother, and readers see her interacting with her little ones with boundless energy in the morning and in the evening when she returns home from work. She’s a juggler as she prepares breakfast, an animal tamer as she wrestles laundry into the washing machine and a “strongwoman” as she carries one kid under each arm. The format parallels the first book, with kinetic, cartoon images in muted colors of a happy, loving and playful family. While the father-as-playground analogy was successful and easy to relate to, the mother-as-circus concept may confuse little ones who are often not so familiar with the goings-on under the big top. The depiction of mom’s shadow flying on the trapeze is too subtle for the audience, and the cover illustration of mom happily juggling a hot cup of coffee is baffling and dangerous. On the final double-page spreads, readers learn that mom’s best act is the “sandman show,” a concept that may also require some explanation.
Fans of the first book may want to see mom in action, but as a solo act, this one just doesn’t fly. (Board book. 1-3)