Saturday, 1 February 2014

Are You My Mother? By P.D. Eastman

I have lots of favourite books, but this one is at the top of the pile. Its the earliest book I remember being read to me, and the one I spent the longest searching for when I had my own children. In the dark days pre-Google, I asked in various bookshops for Are You My Mother? but I thought it was written by Dr. Seuss. I could clearly remember the cat in the hat logo on the cover and didn't know that Theodor Geisel(Dr. Seuss) was also an editor and that his friend P.D. Eastman wrote books for the same imprint. So for my first three kids, my search was fruitless. My fourth came along and as soon I had the energy and time to search online I found it.Within a few days this came through the letter box. 
 Since  he was old enough to focus on a page, I've read this to my youngest. And he loves the baby bird who falls out of his nest and goes on a brave quest to find his mother.

Because "I did have a mother," said the baby bird. "I know I did. I have to find her. I will. I WILL!"
There she is! Getting some food for him. Look around baby bird! But on he goes, asking everyone he meets "Are you my mother?"

It was not the cow.
 It was not the cat.
It was not the dog or the hen or the boat or the plane. It was not even the Steam Shovel, who only said "Snort!".

I know this book was written as an early reader, and it would certainly work as that. But for me it is a perfect toddler story. The innocence of the baby bird, the deadpan answers from the animals ("No" said the hen....or...."How could I be your mother?" said the cow. "I am a cow.") are genius. As are the actions of the Steam Shovel who is the hero of the day.
It is a perfect book.

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