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MY MAMA EARTH by Susan B.  Katz


by Susan B. Katz & illustrated by Melissa Launay

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: April 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-84686-418-6
Publisher: Barefoot

A small child speaks a hymn to its mama, and mama Earth, in rhymed couplets on a lushly patterned background.

The child could be a girl or boy, with its mop of curls and blue-and-white striped shirt. Mama bends around the sun, swims in the river and grows out of a tree trunk, her long hair turning from gold to red to amber as she nestles in meadows or causes the sun to rise and set. The verse is a little clunky and obvious: “My mama hangs the moon for me. / She puts it low so I can see.” The idea of conflating Mother Earth with a child’s own beautiful mother is a lovely one, but the pedestrian rhymes tend to confound that. The gouache paintings display grass, leaves, flowers and waters in richly colored full-page repetitive patterns, with the text in a pretty typeface (but not so pretty that it’s distracting). Contented-looking animals in pairs, butterflies and the child’s own cat inhabit those patterns, too.

It definitely carries the understated sweetness that is a hallmark of its publisher, even if it does slide slightly over into greeting-card territory. (Picture book. 4-8)