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Gilmore, Rachna.

Illustrated by Brenda Jones. Charlottetown. Ragweed Press, 1988. 24pp, paper, ISBN 0-920304-94-X (cloth) $12.95, 0-920304-83-4 (paper) $6.95. CIP

Pre-school to Grade 3/Ages 3 to 8
Reviewed by Marilyn Aldworth

Volume 17 Number 3
1989 May

As the title indicates, this book portrays the mother as someone whose appearance and character are supernatural and strange and who can arouse terror and fear in her daughter. Do mothers/women really need any more problems with their image? If this story is supposed to be funny, I certainly didn't find myself smiling or laughing as I read it.

I felt this book was demeaning to women and that children would not find the subject funny or even silly. I showed this book to our district's Primary and Intermediate consultants and they also thought it was in no way appropriate for children. It would not work as a read-aloud story to pre-schoolers since there is such a weak story-line and the illustrations, which show mothers with horns on their heads and long, pointy teeth and claws, are quite offensive. These mothers snap and growl and the children have to leave their homes because they fear their mothers in this state of "weirdness."

I'm sure that children who can read the story for themselves know that mothers don't really undergo such a physical and mental transformation before a morning cup of coffee or even after a sleepless night with a baby, but this is not the stuff a good fantasy is made of nor is it clever enough to be funny.

This book does not provide girls with any positive role-modelling, with the exception of one page that shows the mother wielding a hammer and fixing a toy box. Even this potentially positive Image is negated by the daughter's observation, "the horns were still there."

Could it be the author's intention to make readers think that the mothers portrayed are suffering from PMS? I think that children, particularly girls, deserve much better than this author's first book.

Not recommended.

Marilyn Aldworth, North Vancouver School District, North Vancouver, B.C.
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