CAN, JP, US, INT)
Written by: Andrew Clements
Illustrated by: R.W. Alley
Published by: Clarion Books
Published on: April 3, 2012
Hope you are having a great Mother's Day, whether you are a mother or not. I spent this Mother's Day like I have the last three, washing the family grave. Sometimes I hate this job, it's stinky and hard and my mother-in-law and my kids talk about superstitious things like ghosts and heaven and other things I don't believe in (not that anyone ever asks my opinion). But othertimes, when the weather is warm but cloudy and the weeds aren't too high and we talk about all the good times we've had with my husband's late grandmother. That gets me thinking about my grandmothers, and my mother. It makes me appreciate how easy I've had it (as much as being a full-time working mom in Japan is a statistical anomaly, I am not moving my children to another continent in the middle of a war or running a household 3 hours by horse from the nearest grocery store), and also how much I have been taught by these women I have been privileged to have in my life.
I can remember times when I didn't think it was a privilege though! Hours spent canning weren't fun then but I have skills now that few of my contemporaries have. The gifts the mothers in my life gave me weren't easy to obtain but I know they gave them because they love me.
That certainly fits in with the theme of this book, which is that giving your child independence and new experiences is a wonderful way to show your love. I know that I am sometimes guilty of taking over for my kids when they want to help and it's taking too much time, so this was a good reminder.
Unlike Fancy Nancy's book, this isn't about Mother's Day per se, but it is a celebration of the relationship between mother and child. This particular mother takes her child on a camping trip, but there is more cuddling than coddling going on. You can see the pride in the child's eyes when he accomplishes something new.
Clements and Alley also brought us Because Your Daddy Loves You in 2005. It's not a rehash of the same story, but it has the same endearing qualities; a loving look at nature, detailed backgrounds including animals, a loving parent-child relationship, and expressive faces.
This would be a great book to read before a first camping trip. For us, hiking up to the graveyard, bringing our cleaning supplies and buckets, is probably as close as it gets because "camping" in Japan usually means staying in a cottage that's bigger than our house and with a better natural bath. Today I remembered this book and didn't offer to carry the brooms or buckets for my kids and they did a good job. Which was great because then I could reward them with cuddles- and let's be honest, that's the real reason I had kids.