Reviewed by Angela Marie
There’s something about a book.
There’s something about holding it in your hands and carefully turning the pages.
A book is a gift and how wonderful if that gift recognises and celebrates the love and affection between mother and child.
I LOVE MY MUM BECAUSE is an interactive picture book targetted at the 3 to 7 age group. It is an activity book to take time with, either quietly with a collaborator if the child is very young, or, for the older child, by torchlight under the covers so as not to spoil the surprise.
And what a beautiful surprise it would be. A time capsule to cherish.
Petra James and Alissa Dinallo have presented a carefully crafted and designed book. It comprises many double pages, each delivering a clear focus on a specific and varied point. Activities vary from the concrete, such as matching up big and little shapes, colouring the most beautiful bunch of flowers possible and recognising cloud shapes, to the abstract. My favourite – She blows BUBBLES! Write a wish or two inside the bubbles. Close your eyes and blow the wish away.
There are reminders of the important things (from a child’s perspective) that mothers do, such as telling the tooth fairy not to get lost, in the guise of a problem-solving maze, and helping to create art works, in this case beautiful butterflies. For the child there is an acknowledgement that your mother knows and understands you. In She knows which colour I am, the child can colour an emotional rainbow.
There is space for creative and original art by drawing portraits and decorating birthday cakes. There is something for every little person to do and enjoy. And I LOVE MY MUM BECAUSE need not be finished in total to be presented to Mum but could be built on over time.
I LOVE MY MUM BECAUSE is a book that remains interactive in the giving of it. It’s a book to snuggle up with together as you both search for the single scoop ice-cream cone or the hidden mum. It reinforces one of childhood’s important understandings – that the giving can be as much fun as the receiving.
I LOVE MY MUM BECAUSE is presented in hardback, making this book durable enough to withstand many handlings. It lends itself to becoming a journal by having the growing child add something extra year by year, reflective or fun. Does there need to be a special occasion to present this to Mum? Definitely not, but birthdays, Christmas Days and Mother’s Days beckon.
And fathers have not been forgotten. Watch out for I LOVE MY DAD BECAUSE arriving this year in August. Sure to be every bit as child-friendly and enjoyable.
PS Love the endpapers!
Petra James knows children and their tastes. She has been in publishing for more than twenty years, thirteen of these with works for children. She has authored ten books for middle-grade readers. Alissa Dinallo has designed for more than 200 titles, having been a book designer for eight years. In 2015 she was awarded the Australian Book Design Association Award for Young Designer of the Year and made the Forbes 30 Under 30 Arts list in 2018. A dynamic duo.
I LOVE MY MUM BECAUSE
Written by Petra James
Illustrated by Alissa Dinallo
Pan Macmillan Australia
36pp; HB $14.99