In this irreverent, hilarious, and charming picture book, award-winning poet Victoria Chang and celebrated artist Marla Frazee show that all toddlers love their mommies—no matter what.
Is Mommy tall or short? Short!
Is Mommy fun or boring? Boring!
In this joyous ode to hardworking mothers everywhere—who may not always be fun or organized or neat—Victoria Chang asks, do their toddlers love them anyway? Of course! Marla Frazee’s colorful and humorous illustrations bring this simple text—perfect for reading aloud—to vivid life.
Victoria Chang is a celebrated poet, whose books have earned such honors as a PEN Center Literary Award and a California Book Award. Her poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review, POETRY, Believer, New England Review, VQR, The Nation, New Republic, The Washington Post, Best American Poetry, and elsewhere. She is a contributing editor of the literary journal, Copper Nickel. She lives in Southern California with her family and her wiener dog, Mustard. Is Mommy…? is her first book for children.
Marla Frazee was awarded a Caldecott Honor for All the World and A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever, and the Boston Globe Horn Book Award for Picture Book for her wordless book The Farmer and the Clown. She is the author-illustrator of many books, including The Boss Baby, the book that inspired the DreamWorks Animation film Boss Baby. She has illustrated many acclaimed picture books, including God Got a Dog by Cynthia Rylant; Stars by Mary Lyn Ray; and Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers. She is also the illustrator of the New York Times bestselling Clementine chapter book series by Sara Pennypacker. The mother of three grown sons, she lives in Pasadena, California. Visit her at MarlaFrazee.com.
A passel of totsdiscuss their moms' positive and negative aspects with uncontained glee."Is mommy tall... / or short?" an unseen narrator asks a crimson-haired tyke wearing a matching crimson dress with white polka dots. The child imagines "tall" (mommy leans down lovingly, about to pick up her dubious-looking daughter) and "short" (now the child looms over a suddenly shrunken, dismayed-looking mommy). With a turn of the page, a definitive, spread-dominating speech bubble declares, "Short!" Other child-and-mommy pairings demonstrate pretty or ugly, nice or mean, fun or boring,young or old, neat or messy; each mommy is loudly adjudged the negative alternative, the growing crowd of children reveling in the mischief. Frazee uses tempera in a limited palette of candy colors, black, and white on soft tan Manila paper, brush strokes giving each area of color (plus the white speechbubbles) luscious texture. The moms look like tall, elongated versions of their children, down to matching clothing-and-hair colors and distinctive hairstyles. In fluidity of line, simplicity and boldness of palette, and often peculiarity of hairstyle, the figures evoke Seuss' Whos; in sheer impishness, these children are 100-percent Frazee. When asked, "Do you love your short,ugly, mean, boring, old, messy mommy?" however, there is no question in these children's minds: "Yes!" A funny and deceptively simple meditation on unconditional filial love. (Picture book. 3-5)
– Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2015
An unseen narrator poses questions about Mommy to six toddlers: Is she tall or short; pretty or ugly; nice or mean; fun or boring; young or old; neat or messy? In each case, the shouted reply is the latter, more negative alternative. Yet when asked, “Do you love your short, ugly, mean, boring, old, messy mommy?” the rejoinder is a resounding “YES!” What might have been a slightly irreverent but ultimately reaffirming question-and-response tale here becomes a hilarious narrative, thanks to Frazee’s artistic talent. Using
tempera paint on Manila paper, she creates matching toddler-mommy pairs, each decked out in a distinctive candy color, with matching clothing and hairstyle. Her uncluttered spreads feature only the characters and oversize speech balloons, which will help toddlers to focus on the story essentials. And, although messy Mommy’s cupcakes may have something to do with the final positive comeback, it’s clear that everyone here is having a wonderful time. Kids will appreciate the story’s visual absurdities, making it
perfect for story time or one-on-one sharing.
– Booklist, November 1, 2015
Poet Chang (The Boss) makes her children’s debut with a dialogue between children and an unseen narrator, which Frazee (The Farmer and the Clown) draws with raucous exuberance. The cast is a crayon box of round-headed elfin preschoolers—a red one in polka dots, a green one with many pigtails, and soon. “Is Mommy tall or short?” the narrator asks the polka-dot girl. A spread shows the alternatives, comically exaggerated: does her mommy tower over her,or is she a tiny doll? A page turn reveals her shouted reply: “Short!” A child in orange pajamas joins her. “Is Mommy pretty... or ugly?” (the child’s groggymother awakens with a wild, spiky bedhead and puffy slits for eyes). “Ugly!”yells orange pajamas. The children always choose the rudest option, but the group answers the final question (“Do you love your short, ugly, mean, boring,old, messy mommy?”) with a resounding “Yes!”....the children’s anarchic glee rings very true.
– Publishers Weekly, August 31st, 2015
Toddler-PreS–A troupe of toddlerscheekily field questions about their mothers. An unseen narrator asks, “Ismommy tall.../or short?” A red-headed imp ponders the query and imagines a tallmommy reaching down for a loving embrace, and then fantasizes about toweringover a suddenly diminutive, doll-like mommy. A huge speech bubble, spreadacross the next two pages, shouts the child’s answer: “Short!” More options areposed to a growing crowd of mischievous tots, such as whether Mommy is boringor fun, young or old, neat or messy. The contrary answers are bellowed out withunabashed glee. The final question, “Do you love your short, ugly, mean,boring, old, messy mommy?” is answered with an unequivocal “YES!” Frazee’stempera paint illustrations take center stage and star a colorful cast ofchildren who are outfitted in primary color wardrobes and have uniquelyfashioned hairdos. VERDICT Toddlers will relish thesimple, headstrong text in this quirky book.
– School Library Journal *STARRED REVIEW*, December 2015
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