Title: Love, Mama
Written and illustrated by: Jeanette Bradley
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press, 2018
Themes: temporary separation, mother’s love, penguins, missing, longing
When they reached the ocean,
Kipling waved goodbye to Mama.
She called, “I’ll be back soon.”
When Mama leaves her young penguin Kipling, he knows she’ll return home soon—yet he still can’t help but miss her. After all, Pillow Mama won’t read, Picture Mama won’t laugh, and Snow Mama is too cold to cuddle.
But then Kipling receives a special delivery from Mama, including a note that reads:
My love for you stretches across the wide ocean,
through day and night,
from earth to sky
and back again.
And Kipling knows that no matter where Mama is, he is loved. Soon, Mama comes home, and Kipling ends the day where he belongs—right in her arms.(Publisher)
Why I like this book:
I am a sucker for adorable penguin books. Kipling and his Mama’s story has a familiar theme that no matter what may separate them, a mother’s love is absolute. In this story the separation includes physical distance as Mama goes on a trip, which is relevant for many kids for whom their mother’s work requires travel. But the whole separation anxiety is just as relevant for children separated for shorter or longer times from their mom for other reasons . There is another adult penguin at home, so Kipling is cared for but its isn’t quite the substitute for a primary caregiver in a little child’s life.
The Arctic scenes are terrific, and the soft warm pallet adds charm to the story. I especially like the spread of Kipling creating his own heart letter to send back to Mama. Distance is well portrayed across the wide ocean, through day and night, from earth to sky and back again, etc. And I think everyone reading the story will be happy to see the resolution, in which Mama does come home because there are some pretty tense moments when little Kipling works through his understanding of her promised return.
Also, I just love the name, Kipling!
Have kids describe what they would send in a care package to a distant Mama/Papa.
This post is part of a series by authors and children’s literature bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.