MAMA TALKS TOO MUCH by Marisabina Russo


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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Despite vibrant, detailed cityscapes, Russo (When Mama Gets Home, 1998, etc.) does such a good job portraying a young girl’s boredom when her mother makes too many stops for conversation as they walk together to the supermarket that the story itself is tedious. Every stop that her mother makes turns into a gabfest that tries Celeste’s patience. To bide the time, she counts cars, pieces of jewelry, and the seconds between light changes at the intersection, until she can stand no more and gives her mother’s sleeve a tug: “Come on, Mama.” The tables turn briefly when Celeste stops to pet a puppy, but it isn’t a balanced enough counterpoint to her mother’s dawdling to make any point. The flat artwork presents enjoyable urban scenes, but all the talk is smothering, in what amounts to a multicultural odyssey—first is Mrs. Green (African-American), then comes Mrs. Walker (Caucasian), then Mr. Chan (Chinese), then Mrs. Castro (possibly Latina). The book is a grand example of showing instead of telling, but the show, unfortunately, is dull. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-688-16411-0
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Greenwillow
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1999


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