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by Phyllis Root & illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7636-1132-8
Publisher: Candlewick

In this feminization of the Creation myth, the creator of the world is a woman with a baby on her hip. The baby doesn’t slow her down a bit; just like in the biblical version, the creation takes place over six days, with a rest on the seventh. Folksy rhyming verse appears in large type on the verso of each page, with the accompanying recto completely filled by full-bleed, dramatic illustrations. Big Momma’s ambitious activities are described in countrified vernacular: “There was water, water everywhere, and Big Momma saw what needed to be done all right. So she rolled up her sleeves and went to it.” Her commands take a similar tone; she admonishes the newly created dark and light: “You two got work to do. Don’t you be fooling around none.” In an echo of the traditional text, she comments at the end of each day, “That’s good. That’s real good.” The acrylic paintings aptly convey the tone of each day’s production; they start out monochromatic until Big Momma has created the sun. The subsequent spreads are riots of color: the contented baby sits in a lush green field, munching on fresh fruits on the fourth day; brightly colored fish and birds appear on the fifth, animals blast out of a bright yellow “big bang” and people of all colors appear on the sixth. Big Momma’s sense of contentment as she settles in with the new folks to tell stories and rest on the seventh day is contagious; this beautifully illustrated, oversized paean to the Earth and to motherhood is a welcome addition to the creation-story pantheon. (Picture book. 5-8)