________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 23. . . .February 18, 2011

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Mommy Takes Away.

Sharlene Weingart.
Dawson Creek, BC: Xlibris (Orders@mommytakesaway.com), 2010.
24 pp., pbk., $12.99.
ISBN 978-1-4500-5781-3.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 3-6.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

**½ /4

   
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Daddy Sneaks.

Sharlene Weingart.
Dawson Creek, BC: Xlibris (orders@mommytakesaway.com), 2010.
24 pp., pbk., $12.99.
ISBN 978-1-4535-2025-3.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 3-6.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

**½ /4

   
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Grandma Loves.

Sharlene Weingart.
Dawson Creek, BC: Xlibris (orders@mommytakesaway.com), 2010.
24 pp., pbk., $12.99.
ISBN 978-1-4535-1240-1.

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 3-6.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

**½ /4

   

excerpt:

Mommy takes away the toys
to fix and wash so I make noise. (From
Mommy Takes Away.)

Daddy sneaks up with a tickle and a grin
he dances me round as we twirl and spin. (From
Daddy Sneaks.)

Grandma loves me when my milk spills on the floor.
She helps me wipe it up and then we pour a little more. (From
Grandma Loves.)

 

An elementary school teacher in British Columbia, Sharlene Weingart has authored three picture books that she has published through Xlibris, an on-demand publisher who also supplied the art work based on sketches, suggestions and feedback from Weingart. This trio of family-based books exhibits a number of qualities which commend them to young readers.

internal art     Mommy Takes Away introduces readers to Katie, a toddler, and her mother, plus the family's pets, a dog and a pair of cats. The text, which consists of rhyming couplets, appears on one page while the "picture framed" illustration is found on the facing page. Sometimes the text could stand alone without an illustration being needed to "explain" it, as occurs with, "Mommy takes away the money/and says, 'Don't put that in your mouth honey.'" However, in other instances, the illustrations give Weingart's text a whole new meaning. The "noise" cited in the excerpt above is shown to be Katie's crying as she is upset by seeing her teddy bear and doll being tossed about in the washing machine. And when Katie complains, "Mommy takes away my art/I barely even get to start/" the illustration shows that Katie's "art" was to be a crayon/marker doodle/drawing on her bedroom wall. Not all of Mommy's take-aways" are of the negative variety. Mommy's tickling dissolves Katie's pout while warm milk removes a chill and Mommy's presence "takes away the fright/that sometimes sneaks up late at night."

internal art      Daddy's behaviors are the focus of Daddy Sneaks. Youngsters actually encountered goateed Daddy in Mommy Takes Away as he appeared in a family portrait that stood on the fireplace mantle. The anonymous illustrator of Mommy Takes Away also utilized a bit of product placement by showing Mommy reading Daddy Sneaks to Katie. The family has now expanded to include Katie's younger brother, Joey Paul. In Daddy Sneaks, Daddy is taking the entire family, including the pets, on a camping trip. Once again, Weingart utilizes rhyming couplets for her text, but this time the book designer has placed one couplet line on each of the facing pages. The illustrator and/or the book's designer has/have come up with an intriguing approach to the illustrations. The first couplet line appears on the "main" full-page and full-colour illustration while the second line is overlaid on a negative, translucent image blowup of a portion of the first line's illustration.

internal art      For youngsters just acquiring language, Weingart's creative uses of the word "sneaks" may be somewhat confusing as Daddy doesn't walk down "the trail in the woods of the park," he "sneaks." However, Daddy later returns to the more familiarly use of the word and "sneaks up" to tickle, "sneaks a peek," 'sneaks a taste" and "sneaks away."

      As Katie and Joey Paul go to sleep in a tent, the cover of Grandma Loves can be seen peeking out from beneath their shared sleeping bag. In the most recent episode of the family trilogy, Grandma Loves, Grandma comes to spend a day with Katie and Joey Paul while the children's parents are away. Design-wise, Weingart's rhyming couplets again appear together on a page that faces a full-page illustration. Grandma combs "scribbly hair," makes homemade soup to fill a "rumbly tummy" and lovingly wipes up Katie-spilled milk. She even "changes brother's bum as soon as he smells poopy." The product placement cycle is completed when the cover of Mommy Takes Away can be seen in the children's book shelf.

internal art      Though Weingart's rhyming couplets are sometimes awkward to read out loud, their child-focused content will resonate with the books' intended audiences of young listeners/readers. The anonymous illustrator(s) include(s) a lot of detail in the illustrations, and the three family pets almost tell their own visual stories.

      Each of the books in this trio presents a nurturing environment, and all three conclude with an affirmation of the love that is being experienced between parent/grandparent and child/children.

Recommended.

Dave Jenkinson, CM's editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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