Friday, October 31, 2008

Mama's Milk - Book Review

Title: Mama’s Milk
Author: Michael Elsohn Ross
Illustrator: Ashley Wolff
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Hard Cover: 32 pages
Publisher: Tricycle Press; Bilingual edition (March 2008)
ISBN-10: 1582462453
ISBN-13: 978-1582462455

Mama’s Milk is wonderful, educational and entertaining for the picture story book age and parents. Michael Ross describes different ways mothers of all creatures nurse their babies. This provides parents a wonderful opportunity to discuss how and why mothers nurse and the benefits of breast milk.

The author begins with a human mother cuddling and nursing her child. “Cuddle little baby warm and tight Mama’s going to feed you day and night.” The story continues with pigs and their piglets, “She’ll fatten you up in a sunny pig sty.”

Every page depicts a different animal nursing their babies and also gives the correct name of each animal and offspring. For example: A Mare and her fold; An elephant and calf. In the back of the book a classification and illustration of each highlighted animal is added with factual statements about nursing practices. Foals nurse every thirty minutes. Kangaroo milk is pink. My granddaughters grimaced with a “Ewwwwww!” giggling all the while. Also, a dolphin calf holds its breath while feeding underwater. Can you imagine?

Michael Ross’ book is a celebration of the beauty of natural breastfeeding and a reminder how much humans and other mammal mamas on this planet earth have in common. The rhyming tone is gentle, comforting and loving. Parents will learn a lot too when they read along with their children.

The illustrations by Ashley Wolff contribute greatly to the message by providing a way for young children to learn and identify animals. The two page spreads are illustrated in deep, rich, velvet looking colors giving off a warm glow. I was especially drawn to the cover of Mama's Milk. Ashley's illustrations made me want to pet the soft fur.

About the Author: Michael Elsohn Ross has worked as a naturalist and environmental educator in Yosemite National Park for over three decades. He is the award-winning author of more than forty books for young people. Over the years he has acquired the nickname “bug author” Visit his website here

About the Illustrator: Ashley Wolff always wanted to be an artist and she has been illustrating books since 1984. All of them about animals, children and love. Please take a look at Ashley's website for more information. Check out her "what's new" tab.

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