Oh, those first anxious days for children starting preschool or kindergarten. I remember those well with my children. My daughter did NOT want to attend preschool and there were lots of tears involved. “The Pocket Mommy” centers around Samuel, a little boy on his first day attending kindergarten.
Title: The Pocket Mommy | Author: Rachel Eugster | Illustrator: Tom Goldsmith | Publication Date: August 6, 2013 | Publisher: Tundra Books/Random House | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 3 to 6 | Reviewed by: Renee and Danielle (Mother and Daughter)
Summary: Saying goodbye to Mom at the kindergarten door can be tough. Samuel hates it and wishes he could have a tiny, pocket-sized mommy to carry around with him all day. His mom slips a pretend mommy into his pocket, and when she comes to life, Samuel is delighted . . . at first. But he soon discovers that having a mom along in kindergarten isn’t as much fun as he thought it would be. Sure, she helps him remember the words to songs and keeps him company. But she also rearranges the bookshelf, corrects his artwork, and tries to clean out the guinea pig cage–all with disastrous (and comic) results. An energetic romp with a sweet core, The Pocket Mommy follows one little boy as he navigates the age-old conflict between the comfort of the familiar and the joy of letting go.
?Toy Testing Council 2014 “Great Book” award
?Canadian Children’s Book Centre 2014 “Best Books for Kids & Teens” award
?LCS 2013 “Best Canadian Picture Book” nominee
?CM Magazine “Recommended” rating
1. What is the book about? This book is about a little boy named Samuel who is going to start kindergarten and he is worried that he is going to miss his mommy. So his mom gives him a pocket mommy to keep him company during school. But the pocket mommy ends up making big messes. So in the end Samuel decides his mom can keep him company at home instead.
2. What do you think of the book cover and the images inside the book? I really liked the cover and the pictures in this book, I thought that they were really cute.
3. What are your favorite parts of the book? My favorite part in this book was when Samuel first discovered the pocket mommy. It would be super cool to have a pocket mommy.
4. Tell us what you remember about starting school for the first time. All I really remember is I was nervous, I did not know what work I would have, if I would make friends or have a nice teacher. But overall, I was pretty exited!
5. Overall, what did you think about the book? Overall I thought the book was cute and I really liked the story.
6. Who do you think would like this book? I think boys and girls 5 to 8 years old would like this book.
My Thoughts: Samuel is heading off for his first day at kindergarten and like many children he is experiencing anxiety and sadness at being parted from his parents. As his mother kisses him good-bye she slips something special into Samuel’s pocket before she leaves: a miniature version of herself to provide him with comfort and help throughout the day. As mommies often are, the “Pocket Mommy” is very helpful. She helps Samuel remember the words to songs, helps him write his name, advises him on how to cut shapes, cleans the classroom, sorts books in the classroom library, and so much more. But soon, the Pocket Mommy is causing more problems than she is solving and Samuel finds himself wishing that the Pocket Mommy would just stay home where she belongs.
The Pocket Mommy is a silly and whimsy-filled picture book that lends itself well to being read aloud. I’m sure many children can relate to the fear and anxiety Samuel experiences as he attends school for the first time. The separation anxiety experienced by children of this age is typical in this context and as parents we do all that we can to ease that transition. The book is inspired by the author’s experience with dropping off her son at kindergarten for the first time. It was her son who initially expressed his desire to have a tiny mommy he wished he could keep in his pocket. I think this is a sweet concept and I can see that it would provide some comfort to a child.
The Pocket Mommy in the story is absolutely hilarious! She does all the things mommies typically do as mentioned above and her interference results in many comical situations. For example, she falls into a a can of flour and gets completely coated. Even as she speaks, only a tiny white puff of flour escapes her mouth. All of the antics of the Pocket Mommy would really hold the attention of a classroom or library circle. A group of children read this book by a teacher or librarian would think it is quite a riot.
The illustrations by Tom Goldsmith appear to be done in watercolor and they beautifully complement the text. The perspectives of the large child and tiny pocket mommy are very well done. Children will enjoy flipping through the book. The book itself features a hard cover and sturdy pages – great quality. Of note, when unfolded completely, the inside of the jacket flap becomes a poster featuring a few images and lines from the book.
My Bottom Line: The Pocket Mommy is an amusing picture book filled with whimsy and featuring beautiful watercolor illustrations. The story itself features an important lesson about developing independence and self-confidence as children enter preschool or kindergarten for the first time. I highly recommend this lovely picture book to kindergarten or early elementary classrooms or library reading circles. Ages 3 to 6.
* This book was provided to me by the author free-of-charge in exchange for our honest reviews. All opinions expressed are our own. *
About the Author: Rachel Eugster
http://racheleugster.com/Rachel Eugster is a writer and editor and (under another hat) an actor, singer, and music director.
Rachel’s first picture book, The Pocket Mommy (Random House, 2013), was inspired by her son’s struggles with being dropped off at kindergarten, and the wish he expressed to keep her in his pocket all day. Other writings for children include five books on food and nutrition (the Ingredients of a Balanced Diet series), and magazine articles on such topics as horse communication, the Robotarium, ringtones for leopards, reawakening volcanoes, and exploding toads. A former editor of Walking magazine, Rachel has been widely published in magazines for adults, and she has edited everything from fiction to poetry to medical journals to architectural writings to manuscripts for children.
Born in one national capital (Washington, D.C.), Rachel now lives with her family in another (Ottawa, Ontario), where she is a founding member of both Dragon’s Tea Trio and the theatre collective Bear & Co. For more information, please visit http://racheleugster.com/