Monday, March 7, 2011

Book Review: What's Special About Me, Mama? by Kristina Evans

The first element that drew me to this book was the artwork on the cover. As you may recall from my post for Eric Carle, collage is my favorite form of illustration. It adds texture and dimension to the book without being easily damaged (like pop-up and lift-the-flap books). I did a little research about the illustrator, Javaka Steptoe and discovered he uses "found art" or everyday objects in his work.

The second element, and first line of text, that made me pick up this book was the title. The first spread poses the question, "What's special about me, Mama?" with the little boy peeking over the arm of the chair at his mama. All you can see are his eyes. There is something so endearing about this moment, and every parent can relate to this type of question. The mama's answer is also one parents all over the world have said: "So many things, Love."

Everything about your child is special to you, so it is difficult to choose just one or two things. The little boy in the story makes it more of a challenge by asking the mama to choose things unique to him, characteristics he doesn't share with any other family members (mother, father, aunt). The final answer may surprise you, but it will definitely touch your heart.

Share this book with your only child, a child expecting to be a big brother or sister or one who already is a sibling. For a project after reading, find objects in your house that can be used in a collage. Try the recycle bin and under the couch, first. Paint the items with bright colors and glue them to a piece of paper, planter or coffee cup for a keepsake as unique as your child.

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