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The Day My Mom Came to Kindergarten

by Maureen Fergus; Mike Lowery, illus.

Being a kid in kindergarten is tough, especially when your mom comes to spend the day at school. But in this delightful role-reversal tale, it’s Mom who acts out while her daughter hangs her head in embarrassment. Mom forgets her manners, ignores the rules, and even talks out of turn. Mother and daughter work things out in the end, realizing that kindergarteners are great at being kids, and moms should probably stick to being grown-ups.

This is Maureen Fergus’s first foray into picture books, but it’s such a gem that we can only hope to see more from her in the future. The story is related from the pitch-perfect point of view of the young daughter. When her mother makes a mistake, the little girl first gets embarrassed, then tries to help her mom behave. Over the course of the day, our narrator gets more and more frustrated with her mother’s behaviour, until finally the teacher reminds her that it’s difficult to learn new things, but a little help can go a long way in making it easier.

Mike Lowery’s illustrations are a perfect complement to the story, looking almost as though they could have been made by an artistic schoolchild. Each element bears a bold, black outline, hands all have three fingers (thumbs are nowhere to be seen), and knees and elbows are big curves. Lowery doesn’t always colour within the lines or respect proportions: Mom often looks like a big kid, messily eating a sandwich during snack time or doing arts and crafts.

The incongruity of Mom’s behaviour will play well with young children, who will likely not notice the lessons buried within the humorous text. This book is a great example of a simple concept executed well, and it should easily find a place on the shelf both at home and in the library.