Did My Mother Do That?


What was I like when I was born? The perennial question receives a fanciful response in a tale that takes an interspecies tour of mothers and babies.

Holly loves to hear the story of the night when she was born—but first she needs to ask a lot of questions. Did her mother hatch her out of an egg? Did she carry Holly in her pocket? Maybe she fed her baby mice for dinner? As Holly and her dad rule out one imaginary scenario after another, little listeners will be eager to join in,...

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What was I like when I was born? The perennial question receives a fanciful response in a tale that takes an interspecies tour of mothers and babies.

Holly loves to hear the story of the night when she was born—but first she needs to ask a lot of questions. Did her mother hatch her out of an egg? Did she carry Holly in her pocket? Maybe she fed her baby mice for dinner? As Holly and her dad rule out one imaginary scenario after another, little listeners will be eager to join in, while learning some interesting details along the way. And they’ll be just as comforted as Holly to hear one final, satisfying tale of a happy and loving human mother on the day her baby was born.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
When Holly's mother goes out for an evening, her father says he will tell her a story about when she was a new baby. When Holly asks questions such as, "Did I hatch out of an egg like a chicken . . . ?" and "What if I were a baby shark?" her father's answers elicit a variety of emotions and responses from his young daughter. After asking whether her mother treated her like the mothers of baby chicks, kittens, kangaroos, owls, sharks, and seahorses, she finally asks what her own mother did. His response is reassuring, warm, and loving. The repetitive question/answer pattern of the story makes this appropriate for the preschool audience. Holt keeps the text from becoming too predictable by varying how Holly's father responds. The illustrations are done in watercolor, acrylic ink, and colored pencil. Lovelock keeps the reader's interest in the illustrations by placing Holly's bed in each animal's environment—out in the grass with the hen and her chicks, under the water with the sharks. Heavy brushstrokes convey a sense of being in the sea or out in the grass. The warmth and tenderness of this bedtime story is evident in the combination of text and the illustrations of this traditional family. The final page shows Holly fast asleep with her mother and father watching over her, soothing and comforting parents and children alike. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal
PreS-K—In this gentle bedtime offering, Holly asks her father how her mother would have cared for her had she been born an animal of one sort or another. Father accurately describes how animal mothers care for their baby chicks, kittens, kangaroos, owls, and even sharks. (He warns, "You don't want to hear about baby sharks…she eats some of them for dinner!") He explains that a baby sea horse is looked after in its father's belly, but Holly was carried by her mother until she was born. The cozy dialogue is accompanied by swirling watercolor, acrylic ink, and colored pencil illustrations that are strong on blues and greens and feature father and daughter sitting on the child's bed surrounded by images of the animals in their natural habitats. Checkered endpapers depict parent and baby animal pairings. A supplemental but charming addition to the genre of "When I was a baby…" books.—Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT
Kirkus Reviews
When Holly's Mommy goes out, Daddy tells her "a story about when [she was] a new baby." The story becomes a gentle father-daughter conversation, in which Holly poses a series of what-ifs: "What if I were a baby kangaroo?" Her father answers each hypothetical with scientifically sound information; if Holly had been a baby shark, for instance, her mother might have eaten her-but "[y]our mother would never do that." Lovelock's full-bleed watercolor, ink and pencil illustrations deftly superimpose the habitat of whatever animal is under discussion over Holly and Daddy cuddling in her bedroom, cleverly allowing for visual comparisons. Kangaroos jump over the pair; seahorses swim by them. The images of parent-child affection are unforced and genuinely sweet-a breath of fresh air in this saccharine season. (Picture book. 3-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763646851
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 4/13/2010
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.90 (w) x 10.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Sharon Holt has written fiction, nonfiction, plays, and poems for children. She lives in New Zealand.

Brian Lovelock, a geophysicist as well as a fine artist, is the illustrator of ROADWORK by Sally Sutton. He lives in New Zealand.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born

    is, of course, the title of a classic story by Jamie Lee Curtis, about the birth of her adopted child. Despite the specificity of Curtis' story (and the fame of the author), it has broad appeal. I have yet to meet a kid who isn't interested in hearing, over and over again, the details of how they came to enter the world.

    Here then is a book on the same topic that may have even wider appeal. Because Mom has to go out for the evening, Dad is charged with telling Holly a bedtime story. To ease Holly's anxiety about Mom's departure he wisely distracts her by promising a story about "when she was a new baby." Smart dad! No kid can resist this.

    The text is structured like a conversation, beginning with Holly wondering if she hatched from an egg and continuing on a tour through the animal world, delineating the ways in which different animal mothers care for their young. No, your mom did not lick you clean like a mother cat would clean her kittens, Holly's father explains. Unlike the kangaroo, she did not carry you in a pocket.(The author and illustrator are from New Zealand) Unlike an owl, you were not fed regurgitated mice -- Dad answers each question Holly poses with sound information. Nice touch! Solid preschool science seamlessly woven into a book that's perfect for Mother's Day.

    Illustrator Lovelock doesn't miss a beat, cleverly superimposing the habitat of the creatures mentioned by Dad over the bedroom scenes of a father sending his daughter off to sleep, sure to have sweet dreams.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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