Mama, Do You Love Me?
by Joose, Barbara M.. Illustrated by Barbara Lavallee. (Chronicle Books, 1991 ISBN 0-87701-759-X) Picture Book. 32 pages. Grades PreK+.
This book was reviewed by Carol Otis Hurst in Teaching K-8 Magazine.
An Inuit child and her mother have a playful interchange about love in a way that will remind you of Margaret Wise Brown's The Runaway Bunny. The child asks, "What if I threw water at our lamp?" and the mother answers, hands on her very ample hips, "Then, Dear One, I would be very angry. But still, I would love you."
The questions and answers go on through other possible misbehaviors, running away, and transformations ("What if I turned into a walrus? Then I would be surprised and a little scared"). The artwork, animals, clothing, and some other objects named are specific to the Arctic world, but the theme is universal.
An annotated glossary at the end of the book tells the reader just enough about what may be unfamiliar terminology or words used in unfamiliar ways without closing the book on the subject. Under "mukluk" for instance, we are told, "These Inuit boots are made with fur. Traditionally, they were lined with moss, but today they are lined with felt."
The illustrations are wonderful: round, stylized, full of pattern and surprise and very comforting. With a light touch this book gives its message and all of us are the wiser for it.