Listen to Mama: Mama Says: A Book of Love for Mothers and Sons by Rob D. Walker
The simple wisdom of mothers shared with their children is the premise of Ron Walker's just published Book Of Love For Mothers And Sons (Mama Says), breathtakingly illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon.
This generously-sized book offers double-page spreads of mothers and young sons from many cultures--Cherokee, Quechua, Hindi, Inuktitut, Korean, Arabic and Hebrew, to name a few. The colors are soft, yet strong, costumes and settings are delicately conceived and executed with exquisite detail, and the faces of the women and children are beautifully illuminated with a light of their own.
The text for each illustration is brief, almost terse, but rhythmical. In the page depicting the cover illustration, a Cherokee mother and small son celebrate the sun's return after a storm:
the rain will come,
but still the sun will shine.
An Ethiopian mother speaks her version of "Do your homework!" as her small son studies with her by lamplight:
sometimes hard work
may keep you up at night.
In the only American portrayal, an African-American mother's advice seems a bit hackneyed:
be on time.
walk with pride,
and never drag your feet.
But in the Dillons' illustration, however, we see the child, neatly dressed in his little white shirt and tie, being escorted through a jeering crowd into a newly integrated school.
Simple words all of these are, but illuminated by the masterful art of Leo and Diane Dillon, they take on a certain depth that makes this book a stunning work, a natural for Mothers' Day, a good gift for mothers and for sons, too.
and be the best
I listened to
what Mama said,
and now I am a man.