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Illustrator: Carol Thompson
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.
Mommy's glad a need is filled,
Mama knows Boo's not as thrilled.
Mommy, Mama, and Me at Amazon.ca
Mommy, Mama, and Me at Amazon.com