Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Review: Mommy, Mama, and Me

Here's our second installment celebrating Banned Books Week:

Find on
Find on
Title: Mommy, Mama, and Me
Author: Lesléa Newman (website)
Illustrator: Carol Thompson
Publisher: Tricycle Press
Year: 2009
Format: Board Book
Pages: 18
Age Range: Baby, Toddler, Preschooler
Kid Love Factor: 2.5/5

Adult Sanity Factor: 3/5

Mommy, Mama, and Me alternates telling what Mommy and Mama do for their young toddler over the course of a day.  They play and cuddle and cook and snack and read and bathe and (hopefully for the moms' sake) eventually sleep.  The toddler is delightfully androgynous, making it easy for any little girl or boy to step into his or her day.

Mommy picks me up, up, up
Mama pours juice in my cup.

Mommy, Mama and Me has of course qualified for review during banned books week due to its portrayal of a presumably lesbian couple.  The entire focus of both women is the child, and they're only rarely on the same page together, but the trio is clearly a family, and the love the women both have for their baby is clear.

I think it's important for every child to be able to find decent books about people like them and their families.  I know when Boo's a bit older I'll be doing my best to find books with accurately and positively portrayed autistic characters.  I also think it's important to expose Boo to books about people who are different from us; the more familiar something is, the less likely it is to be something to fear or disparage.

All that being said, while the rhyming text is cute, the pictures well done, and the message important, this would get pretty monotonous 15 times in a row, so I can't make myself give it a higher Adult Sanity Factor.

Boo is not overly interested in Mommy, Mama, and Me.  He's outgrown most board books of this simplicity, though he was happy enough to sit through it a couple of times, especially if I emphasized the page where Mama and the toddler go down a slide.   I think it would have been more of a hit about six to twelve months ago for its absolute content.  For the more controversial aspect, I'm not sure he understood that the two ladies were both mothers to the child.  For one, we're still working on the whole Mommy is a girl and Daddy and Boo are boys concept, so I'm not sure he gets that a man and a woman make up the average set of parents.  For two, we still use Mommy (what my husband and I call me) and Mama (what Boo calls me) interchangeably, so I'm also not sure he really gets that the book is portraying two separate women.  Many toddlers will be able to start having conversations about different family types before they lose interest in the other content of this book; sadly, Boo is not one of them.

If reading about a family with two dads is of more interest to you, Newman and Thompson also collaborated on Daddy, Papa, and Me.   While we haven't read that one, I imagine its quite similar, though the child looks like he or she may be slightly older.

Autism Spectrum Bonus:  Mommy, Mama, and Me goes through a lot of average every day activities like having a nap and playing in the park, so if your child craves reading about the familiar (while learning about something that may not be familiar), this is a good choice.  As I said above, the love both women have for the child and the child has for each woman is very clear and may help with discussions on expressing affection.  It's also a good starting point for reassuring kids that it's okay to be different and that different doesn't mean bad.

Bottom Line:

Mommy's glad a need is filled,
Mama knows Boo's not as thrilled.


Mommy, Mama, and Me at

Mommy, Mama, and Me at


  1. The idea of book banning, especially of books like this one, is so wrong and down right silly. Regardless of what one may think about the lifestyle choice of the main characters, it is a fact of life. Some kids have two mommies. Some have one. Some have none. I would imagine, somewhere out in the world, there is a kid with three mommies. It doesn't seem as though the author is hammering the reader over the head with this aspect of the story. Even though my son is waaay to old for this book, I am glad you reviewed it.

  2. Great review. We have never read this. I know my son wouldn't blink at there being two moms, and if I said, "look, there are two moms instead of a mama and a dada!," then he'd say something like, "tell me why!" I'd say, "because, some families have two mamas or two dadas instead of 1 mama and 1 dada" and he'd move right along. Simple enough for us. But I know it is a larger issue for many. Love your "bottom line" section, by the way. :) Oh, and re: outgrowing baby books, my son will read any baby board book... I don't know if it's a phase, but he loves grabbing the most babyish, tiny board book for his reading pile at night, even though he can plow through a chapter book reading it himself! Fine by me - board books are quick reads at bedtime. ;)

  3. PS We live in a ridiculous world when books like this are controversial, and yet a book like the Lion King (which my son has) that contains a detailed story about a lion murdering his brother to become king, then later trying to murder his nephew while boasting that he murdered the boy's father, is a commercial success, and toddlers walking around hugging toy cubs to celebrate the story. No offense to the Lion King (catchy songs and all), but it just comes to mind as one book my son has read that is so much worse than something like this.

  4. I think it's great that you share all books. Even if this book does not apply to your situation it applies to someones's. I think tolerance and acceptance is very important when it comes to people's lives. We all are different and maybe if people showed more appreciation for all different families we would all be better off.

    (A little off topic...)The same way not all families can relate to having a child on the spectrum I would only hope they read books so that they can understand how our family works. Thank you for sharing seems like a nice read.


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