MAMA, DON’T GO OUT TONIGHT by Sally Gardner

MAMA, DON’T GO OUT TONIGHT

Age Range: 4 - 7
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A child frets about her mother leaving for the evening in this quirky, appealing tale. Arranged as a conversation between mother and child, the text addresses all the far-fetched fears a child can conjure. Rampaging pirates, lurking dragons, beguiling circus careers, a perilous giant, and even an impossibly enceinte feline are all put forth as valid reasons for the mother to stay home. After mother leaves with a reassuring hug, the child discovers all the fun having a sitter can entail. As the evening wanes, the young girl eagerly anticipates when her sitter will come again to play. The ingeniously arranged illustrations are the real lure here. A full-bleed, two-page spread focuses on each specific concern; the upper three-quarters of the spread feature the girl’s vivid imaginings: Mama decked out in her evening finery (including tiara) valiantly battling pirates, cavorting at the circus, etc. The lower quarter of the pages depicts the reality: the daughter in a pirate’s hat brandishing a wand, or playing circus with her stuffed animals. Dividing the fantasy from the reality is a swath of ribbon that runs across the spread, with the text printed onto the cloth. The gaily colored ribbons overlay the illustrations for an intriguing collage effect. After mother leaves, the spreads become more balanced, with the ribbons dividing the pages in half, as each portion reflects the reality of the mother’s night out and the child’s enjoyable time with her sitter. The final scene depicting the child nestled in bed with her mother, now returned safely home is all the reassurance a wary child could need. Imaginative and brimming with lively artwork, this is bound to captivate and soothe anxious readers. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 1-58234-790-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2002




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