A little girl growing up with extended family cherishes a visit with her mother.
Ally, illustrated as a child of color with brown skin and dark, curly hair, is being raised by her grandmother and great-aunt (who both appear white with light skin and blue eyes) “far, far away from her mom.” Ally also visits her white-appearing aunt and uncle every summer, and her aunt answers many questions about her mother by drawing on childhood memories of their growing-up years. The text never explains why this arrangement is so, not even when Ally’s mother visits while she’s with her aunt and uncle. Both the words and multimedia pictures excel, however, at honoring the special time mother and daughter share. She, like Ally, has brown skin and dark curly hair, and they also both love to “swim like a pair of seals.” Unfortunately, the unanswered questions about why Ally lives apart from her mother and why she can’t go with her when she ends the visit may prove difficult for some readers. An author’s note alludes to the author’s adopted sister, who “had many struggles in her life,” which led her to agree to have her adoptive mother raise her own daughter, but this backmatter content doesn’t go quite far enough to fill in the gaps in this fictionalized story.
A needed but uneven addition to diverse family stories, best for children whose caregivers are ready for questions. (Picture book. 4-8)