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My Mama

My Mama

Published: 1 Apr 2020

Hardback, 32 pages

Recommended for age 3+ and 5+

By Annemarie van Haeringen

Illustrated by Annemarie van Haeringen

Translated by Bill Nagelkerke

Published by Gecko Press

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A naughty elephant tells all about his mother in this lovingly drawn story. Parents and children will both delight in and recognize this gorgeous mother child relationship-if not for the same reasons. "My mama always wants to play when I do, she likes all my games, she teaches me to fly-but finds it hard to let me go-and she's almost never angry. I've known her for so long all my life!"

Reviewed by Rebecca Simpson-Hargreaves

My Mama is a heartwarming tale of a mother seen through the eyes of a child written by Annemarie Van Haeringen.

Within this book, a baby elephant introduces us to his mama, and we get to learn much about their relationship. We see how they play together, how she nurtures and guides him as the story visits scenarios most children would recognise.

This story is a joy to read. It brings a smile to your face as you follow the antics of the young elephant. So often, the mother-child relationship is shown in books through the eyes of the adult, but in this case, each page feels like the child has written it. This is a real credit to the author and also to the translator Bill Nagelkerke. The illustrations pop out against the white background, and though they are minimal in style, they portray the story well. Children who may not be able to read yet will be able to follow along.

There’s no doubt My Mama would become a firm favourite if placed in a class library, particularly suited to the early years and KS1. During storytime, it would raise laughter, especially when the young elephant wants to ‘water’ some of the plants. It could be used in PSHE to talk about families, perspectives or gender stereotyping. Being a translated children’s book, it gives access to stories from other parts of the world.

I am a lecturer in Primary Education specialising in English at the University of Manchester. Lover of picture books, poetry, non fiction and fantasy. Passionate about using children's literature to develop children's empathy, self-awareness and social justice and human rights.