________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 4. . . .September 27, 2013


The Pocket Mommy.

Rachel Eugster. Illustrated by Tom Goldsmith.
Toronto, ON: Tundra Books, 2013.
32 pp., hardcover & ebook, $17.99 (hc.).
ISBN 978-1-77049-300-1 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-77049-498-5 (ebook).

Preschool-grade 1 / Ages 3-6.

Review by Linda Ludke.

*** /4



Samuel clutched his mother’s hand as he walked to kindergarten. His feet felt heavier with every step.

“Mommy,” he said, “I hate it when you leave me at school. I wish you were the tiniest mommy in the world, so I could keep you in my pocket all day.”

“Oh, Samuel,” said Mommy. “I hate leaving you, too. But guess what? I’ve got a tiny mommy right here. Let me tuck her in.”

As Samuel held open his pocket, his mom pretended to slip something inside. Then she gave him a big hug good-bye, and was gone.


Samuel approaches kindergarten with trepidation. His mother soothes his fears by giving him a “Pocket Mommy” to hold close throughout the day. When this pretend mother comes to life at Circle Time, Samuel is delighted. Although small in stature, Pocket Mommy is adept at helping Samuel complete his school activities. She acts out the shape of each letter when he forgets how to write his name, and she shouts “MOOOO!” when he can’t remember what cows say. During an art project, Pocket Mommy admonishes Samuel to “Be careful to cut along the lines”, and her overzealous attentiveness starts to irk the little boy: “Mommy,” Samuel said, “I can do it myself!”.

internal art     In a funny role reversal, it is Pocket Mommy who wreaks havoc in the classroom. Much to Samuel’s chagrin, she creates a chalk dust storm while cleaning the blackboard, and her efforts at organizing the library result in a book avalanche. She even declares the class pet’s cage a “pig sty” and chases out the bewildered guinea pig. Pocket Mommy’s final offense is a comical fall from grace – right into a can of flour. When Samuel’s real mother arrives at the end of the day, he declines her offer of another pretend mommy and reflects, “Maybe I just need you to do your mommying at home”.

     Tom Goldsmith’s graphite, watercolour and coloured pencil illustrations humourously capture Pocket Mommy’s antics. She crawls out from beneath a bookcase with eagerness in her eyes and dust bunnies in her hair. The disgruntled guinea pig stands with his arms on his hips and watches while Samuel gives her a “Time Out”.

     Young readers will relate to this story about first steps towards independence. Pair this book with Maureen Fergus’ The Day My Mom Came to Kindergarten, for a “going to school” discussion starter.


Linda Ludke is a librarian in London, ON.

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

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