The somewhat pedestrian title ‘Thank You, Mama‘ seems to suggest that this is one of the many saccharine sweet children’s books exalting the greatness of mothers — not that moms don’t deserve them, of course, but I’ve always felt a bit odd reading them to the kids… like I’m undeservingly tooting my own horn. So while I would ordinarily bypass such books, there was something arresting about its Victorian-era-inspired cover art that made me pick it up. And boy was I glad I did.
Not only is the vintage style of artwork intriguingly unique, but the contents of the book were not quite what I expected either — in a good way. Rather than a safe and boring book on moms, the author has penned a refreshingly charming and original book on manners — specifically, when to say ‘thank you’ — and pets. You wouldn’t think these two topics would work together, but they do here.
The premise is deceptively simple: Alice’s parents bring her to the zoo for her birthday, and buy her a balloon, a pet, ice-cream and flowers. However, the dialogue between Alice and her parents (and pet!) is unexpectedly humorous and true to life, particularly the way her parents get her to reply politely by repeating their words — which also makes her choice of pet perfectly apt.
Incidentally, if you liked this book, don’t miss its equally charming companion book Please, Papa by the same authors!