Mars Needs Moms! by Berkeley Breathed

One of the things that no one can appreciate fully until they are doing it themselves, is how hard it is to be a parent — especially a mother. I mean, this is not a slight to the daddies out there, who are undeniably important and irreplaceable — but, let’s face it: the mom is, more often than not, the backbone of the family.

Among other things, she is the one who sees and takes care of the numerous small but necessary details that no one else will even think about; who takes on that unpleasant but necessary role of Official Family Nag (and/or Disciplinarian); who really makes the effort to listen to her child(ren) and entertain his/her/their every query; who puts her family before everything and everyone else — especially herself… And, she does it all quietly, largely under-appreciated, and at the risk of her child(ren) resenting her at some point for doing her job.

In Mars Needs Moms!, Milo is a typical immature, self-centered kid — like all of us have probably been at some point in our lives — who not only doesn’t appreciate his mom, but openly gripes about her being a tyrant who makes him do chores and forces him to eat his vegetables.

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Then, one night, Milo is woken up by strange noises and discovers aliens abducting his mom! Thankfully, he manages to stow himself aboard the spaceship and follows them to Mars, where, ironically, the aliens seem to value his mom more than he does.

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Evidently, they know a good thing when they see one — plus, who knew that aliens needed TLC too?

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Just when he is about to try to rescue her, however, he gets himself into a perilous situation…

The strikingly expressive (and appropriately sci-fi-like) illustrations complement the humorous tone of the book, while the poignant tale will strike a chord with anyone — grown-ups included — who has ever taken his/her mom for granted. But, most of all, this book will tug at the heartstrings of moms who understand all too well the immense pressure and heartache that come with the privilege of the role — as well as the true meaning of unconditional love and sacrifice.

p.s. This being a kids’ book, all’s well that ends well — although, there is a harrowing scene that may be slightly disturbing to the younger kids, so parents, do exercise your own discretion. For the record, my four-year-old really liked it.

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