Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Book Review: The Passions of "Are You My Mother?"

This is one of our very favourite books. We read it every day. It never, ever gets stale. Ever. Thankfully, Mary, having had lots and lots of practice with it over the past twenty years (it's a Classic), reads it with great poignancy, for this book has lots and lots of poignant moments. She reads it with much expression, too, because there are lots of expressive moments: of hope and then bitter disappointment; of bravery and staunch determination; a moment of laughter; even a moment of despair. Here's the moment of determination. I just love this page: Can't you just see the fortitude and decision radiating from this wee bird's scrawny body? Every feather on his stick-like frame quivers with resolute vigour. You can do it, baby bird! You get out there and you FIND that momma!! So, lots of expression. Too much expression for Harry. As we approach the page of despair, Harry instructs me, "Don't use that very sad voice, Mary." "But I have to, lovie; the baby bird is very sad." "Then I will cover my ears." "You do that." Here is the moment of despair: Pathetic, isn't it? It culminates in him/her wailing "I want my mother!", and when I wail it, let me tell you, it's pathetic. I do baby bird pathos with tear-jerking poignancy. I won't spoil the ending for you, but I can tell you that Harry is happy with how it turns out.

9 Comments:

Blogger ieatcrayonz said...

I don't think I'll ever tire of my wee babe calling me momma. I know the veteran mommies say I will, but I doubt it.

10/26/2005 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger McSwain said...

And my mother read this to me, and I read it to my son, and now my son reads it to me. I never thought about the great pathos in the illustrations, though. :)

10/26/2005 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Crayonz: Oh, you may get tired of just how many times you hear it on a particularly demanding day, but you know what? When she's particularly tired, my 12 year sometimes calls me "momma", and it melts me. Just melts me. :-)

Cheryl: Down through the generations it goes - it was published in 1960. It's such a great story for little ones. It's a true classic, and has earned the distinction. And it drips, positively drips, with pathos!!

10/26/2005 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Misfit Hausfrau said...

I can't believe we don't have that in our collection right now! Well, Birthday and Christmas are coming for Ella...

10/26/2005 08:01:00 PM  
Blogger Candace said...

Crayonz: Those mommies who say that are dumb. When my son stopped calling me Mommy I nearly died. My daughter still calls me Mommy; she tried Mom once but I asked her to never do it again.

10/26/2005 09:51:00 PM  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Hausfrau: Is Ella a December baby? My Haley is. We were living in the states when she was born, which is why I happen to know that her birthday is Pearl Harbor Day! Good thing the date has no particular significance up here - no stupid jokes to suffer every year.

Misfit: I can never quite bring myself to say stuff like that, but you're right. They are dumb. Who gets tired of gifts of love? They don't deserve 'em!

My eldest daughter (almost 20) calls me "mummy" more often that she calls me "mum", my son (16) calls me "mom", my younger daughter (12) calls me "Mummy". It's the boy again - what's with that? I'm not sure when he made the switch, either...

10/27/2005 07:35:00 AM  
Anonymous circe said...

I can't believe I've never read this but it sounds very sweet and heartwrenching.

10/27/2005 09:57:00 AM  
Blogger Matthew said...

Oh, I can relate Mary P. I really get into reading children's books. The babies now just end up watching me and my facial expressions instead of the pictures in the book. Hopefully that will change soon!

I really like Harry. A sensitive soul.

10/27/2005 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Circe: Hello and welcome. Circe... someone in Greek mythology. Someone Odysseus met, maybe? Faint bells are ringing...

Heartwrenching, but with a happy ending. (Psst... He does find his mother in the end, but don't tell anyone. Wouldn't want to spoil the surprise.) :-)

Matthew: I'm picturing two wee faces glued onto yours, while the pages flip unnoticed. Very sweet. They'll learn to love the pages in time - because they love their daddy!

10/27/2005 11:36:00 AM  

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