Through the humorous juxtaposition of text and illustrations this lively picture book is a fun riff on the old saying "Do as I say and not as I do."
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Kindergarten-Grade 2-An unseen narrator glibly lists all of those things that her mother says she always did, or didn't do, when she was a child. "She never put her fingers in her nose.- She never played doctor with the little boy next door.- She was always polite, especially to old ladies." Each statement appears opposite an irreverent portrait of Mommy's bad behavior, such as pulling the dog's tail or cracking her whip yelling, "GIMME" as she demands a Barbie. The expressive illustrations are drawn with a child's sensibility using broad ink strokes and unsteady lines, yet the emotional impact belies the simplicity of design. This could be due to the use of red as the mother's defining color, with her pigtailed red hair and messy red dress, or it could be the protruding teeth and devilish glint in her eye or the grotesque pile of damaged toys (other children's). Even though the book touches on a dynamic that is real, it carries its vision too far and comes across as mean-spirited and scary, rather than amusing.
Martha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI
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