SALT LAKE CITY — With Mother's Day this Sunday, May 13, here are five new picture books out this spring that honor those remarkable women who never stop loving us. From the whimiscal, like Sabrina Moyle's "My Mom is Magical," to the lyrical, like "Nature's Lullaby Fills the Night" by Dee Leone, these books remind moms and children alike through words and pictures of motherhood's many roles.
"MAMA'S BELLY," by Kate Hosford, pictures by Abigail Halpin, Harry N. Abrams, 32 pages, 4-5 years
Kate Hosford's "Mama's Belly" tells the story of every mother's wish: that her oldest child will be excited for the new baby. Told from the point of view of the soon-to-be big sister, who asks her pregnant mom questions like, "Will your lap ever come back?" and, more poignantly, "When my sister comes, will you have enough love for both of us?" this is a good book to share with siblings who may be feeling apprehensive about a coming baby. Illustrator Abigail Halprin has a gift for distinctive characteristics — thick, curly hair for the little girl, a red beard for the dad, wispy ringlets for the mother — that helped bring to life this growing family who live beside a beautiful lake.
"NATURE'S LULLABY FILLS THE NIGHT," by Dee Leone, pictures by Bali Engel, Sterling Children's Books, 40 pages, 3 and up
In "Nature's Lullaby Fills the Night," writer Dee Leone's lyrical text begs to be sung out loud, with lines like "Tiny creatures bid goodnight / Nature's lullaby fills the night" just asking for a melody. This lovely is book is clearly meant to put little ones to sleep, focusing on nature's night time sounds with moms in the human, animal and fowl world putting their offspring to bed. Bali Engel's gentle, slightly graphic images provide a calming visual for this sweet picture book.
"MAMA, IS IT SUMMER YET?," by Nikki McClure, Harry N. Abrams, 30 pages, 2-3 years
Artist Nikki McClure works in paper, and her black-and-white cutouts nicely illustrate this sweet, yet instructive board book. A curious child asks the mother, "Is is summer yet?" and the mother, wise and gentle, teaches her little one the signs of spring. Taking her child through spring's soft earth and the new ducklings following their mother, through to the start of summer with its honeybees and berries "juicy and sweet," the little pops of color in the otherwise simple illustrations make this an ideal book to settle down with just before nap time.
"MY MOM IS MAGICAL!," by Sabrina Moyle, pictures by Eunice Moyle, Abrams Appleseed, 24 pages, preschool and up
Sabrina Moyle's board book "My Mom is Magical" will appeal to little fingers and little people who love bright colors and, yes, unicorns. While moms may not always feel so magical, when told from the point of view of this unseen child narrator, they might warm to the idea that they — represented as a unicorn in Eunice Moyle's candy-colored illustrations — are "more amazing than a billion butterflies," and "sillier than a band of bananas." Described on the back as "a joyful tribute to all the things that make mom magical," this cute book could make a good reminder for moms and children on those hard days when no one in the house feels glad, much less magical.
"THE BEST MOTHER," by C.M. Surrisi, pictures by Diane Goode, Harry N. Abrams, 32 pages, 3-7 years old
C.M. Surrisi's new book has a whiff of the classic Berenstain Bear book "Old Hat, New Hat," with little Maxine declaring early in this charming book that she is going to "get a new mother." The story follows her efforts to find someone to replace her "old mother," until, as one might guess, she realizes that she already has the best mother she could have. Diane Goode's pen illustrations and watercolors bring Maxine and her quest to life, as Maxine tromps over New York City's Central Park, quizzing other ladies about their parenting decisions.