Review Blog

May 27 2015

Mum goes to work by Libby Gleeson

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Ill. by Leila Rudge. Walker, 2015. ISBN 9781921529825 (Age: 3-6) Highly recommended. Subjects: Mothers, Women's Occupations, Family Life, Work life. It 's early morning. Everyone is arriving at the centre. The childcare centre is a noisy, bustling place as the children are dropped off and Mums are farewelled. Libby Gleeson's new picture book is a warm and inviting story, showing the variety of roles and jobs mothers do while their children are cared for during the day. Often children know their father's occupation, but what about their mothers? While Nadia's mother is busy studying architecture, attending classes, reading in the library and building model homes, her daughter Nadia is painting her a picture and building a large city with her friend Jack. Each of the mother's work and activities correlates to her daughter or son's activities - Max's mother is a nurse and Max dresses up in pyjamas covered in bone designs and tucks the toys into bed. Rosie and Jack's Mum works at home caring for the new baby, her day is shown in small scenes, bathing, bottle feeding, sorting laundry and cleaning while the baby sleeps. At childcare Rosie, Jack and Nadia wash all the dolls and teddies, then empty out the baby bath and make a mud pie. Time for lunch and small snapshots of the children and mothers are illustrated without text, they are enjoying the fruit, having a picnic, using the microwave or feeding a dinosaur these provide opportunities for shared engagement with the reader or class. Libby Gleeson's picture book looks at a variety of jobs women undertake. It is a wonderful story to read aloud at a childcare centre, preschool or kindergarten, it may help those children who suffer from anxiety about Mum leaving them or coming back for them. When the youngsters are playing, they show they know just what their mother's do, who they work with and where they work. The choice of cream coloured backgrounds and use of mixed media, watercolours, coloured pencils and collage by Leila Rudge makes this a visually engaging story. A great addition for library shelves and family collections, a celebration of mothers and their careers. Rhyllis Bignell

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