Some books are born to be staples on any child’s bookshelf. Written by P.D. Eastman, Are You My Mother is without a shadow of a doubt one of those stories. With incredibly simple but engrossing illustrations, an engaging storyline, and a likeable main character, most children and parents quickly form attachment to this classic.
What Happens in Are You My Mother?
A mother bird feels her egg begin to stir. Eager to gather food so it won’t go hungry when it hatches, she flaps off in search of a worm. With not the best timing in the world, baby bird hatches. Immediately he knows he must have a mother, but he does not know where. Determined, he sets off to find her. “Are you my mother?” He asks a kitten. No response. “Are you my mother?” He asks a hen, who replies that she is not. On and on he goes, roaming from a dog to a boat and even an old car. None are his mother. Finally he stumbles upon a piece of construction equipment, digging up earth. It makes a loud ‘snort’ sound and the baby bird realizes this is not his mother; this is a ‘Snort.’ He’s about to leave when all of a sudden he finds himself being lifted up higher and higher. He had perched on the edge of the Snort’s shovel, and now it is raising him into the air. Panicking the baby bird calls out for his mother. When the Snort finally stops, baby bird has no idea where he is, but the Snort does!
A protégé of Dr. Seuss, P.D. Eastman has his own distinct style of illustration that, in this book particular, grabs the reader’s attention despite the fact that there is very little color, save the color red and yellow in some parts. Most of the illustrations are done looking like they were drawn with pencil, charcoal, and watercolor. They are mostly filled with tones of earthy brown, which sounds dull, and yet is anything but.
Some people feel this book has a negative connotation. After all, getting separated from ones parents is a traumatic experience. I, however, really must protest this being a bad story. I love this book, and I refuse to over analyze it nor do I believe that it will seriously frighten a child. Kids are little sponges that soak up interesting scenarios; they are not made of glass. Reading them a story such as this about a baby bird that has lost its mother is not going to traumatize them for life. They may not like it (although many do) but I promise they’ll be fine.
I apologize for my rant. People often over-analyze books far too much, and sometimes it’s justified, but in my mind, Are You My Mother does not qualify as such a story. I would recommend this book.
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