My mum's special secret by Sally Morgan

cover image

Ill. by Ambelin Kwaymullina. Omnibus Books, 2016. ISBN 9781742991368
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended, Australian animals, Aboriginal themes, Parents, and parenting, Kookaburra
An absolutely delightful rhythmical story of the love between a baby bird and its mother is told with bright gouache illustrations reinvesting the special bond between mother and child with a singular importance. Each page has the baby bird asking his mother a question, one which is answered on the next page. Children will love listening to the warm-hearted story being read to them and learn to predict the questions and answers as each uses the same format.
'Will we see the stars? Mum'
for example, is followed by
'My mum shows me the stars
through the leaves,
Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle'
Each one line question of five or six words is ended with the word, Mum, and the response is always one long sentence followed by three words describing the object, begging the child to repeat those words as they are read out. In this way the repetition becomes easy for children to follow and practice for themselves.
The communication between mother and her offspring, reinforce the maternal bond with a child, and reflect what parenting is about to the listener and reader. The last four pages add a little piquant to the mix as the format changes, encouraging the child to see the deeply reciprocal nature of the relationship between mother and child.
And of course the luminous illustrations teach the reader about the life of the kookaburra: where it lives, what it eats and how it survives in the Australian bush, giving another level of learning to this lovely book.
Fran Knight