Her Mother's Face

Her Mother's Face

by Roddy Doyle, Freya Blackwood
     
 


Award winners Roddy Doyle and Freya Blackwood team up to create a heartwarming story of loss, love, and what it means to be a family.

When Siobhan was just three years old, her mother died, leaving Siobhan and her father alone in their house in Dublin. They never talk about her, and now, at ten years old, Siobhan no longer remembers her mother's face.

One day,

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Overview


Award winners Roddy Doyle and Freya Blackwood team up to create a heartwarming story of loss, love, and what it means to be a family.

When Siobhan was just three years old, her mother died, leaving Siobhan and her father alone in their house in Dublin. They never talk about her, and now, at ten years old, Siobhan no longer remembers her mother's face.

One day, Siobhan meets a mysterious woman in the park who tells her that to remember her mother, she just needs to look in a mirror. As Siobhan grows older, she sees more and more of her mother's face in her own reflection. With time, she and her father and her own daughter are able to remember Siobhan's mother with joy and laughter instead of tears.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In his first picture book, Doyle (Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha; The Giggler Treatment) draws on magical realism to leaven a story about grief. It begins in the language of a modernized fairy tale: "There was once this girl and her name was Siobhán. [She lived with her father in] a great house, full of interesting rooms and corners, full of old magazines and old machines and old, old toys and teddy bears." But Siobhán's mother has died, and Siobhán cannot remember her face. Years pass as the girl carries her grief silently, until a meeting with a stranger in the park brings unexpected consolation and solid advice (look in the mirror, the woman tells her); many more years pass before Siobhán realizes that the stranger was her mother. The storytelling flows gracefully between the naturalistic details (the sight of mothers buttoning their children's coats intensifies Siobhán's pain) and the magical encounter. Blackwood (Half a World Away) magnifies Doyle's optimism in her limpid watercolor and charcoal art; she focuses on moments of connection, while cues in her compositions (e.g., a kitten that ages with Siobhán) underscore the message that life goes on. Ages 4-8. (Nov.)

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Kirkus Reviews
In Doyle's first picture book, a girl matures in the shadow of grief. Siobhan's mother died seven years ago, and she and her depressed father live in a rambling house full of memories but bereft of photos. Siobhan, now ten, remembers her mother's hands and voice but not her face. Sitting under a park tree, she confides in a compassionate, mysterious woman, who advises that to see her mother's face, she "should look in the mirror." The story's compression (Siobhan grows up and has a daughter), longish text and tinge of magical realism will charm some readers and possibly confuse others: The woman in the park (a figment? a vision?) whispers a message for Siobhan's father that only her mother would know. Blackwood's precise watercolor palette's greens and reds visually link three generations of females through their sweetly detailed clothing and handed-down shoes and scarf. Siobhan's father's grey clothes and sadness remain, though the mystery woman's message, which Siobhan remembers and utters years later, evokes a torrent of spoken, healing memories. Poignant. (Picture book. 5-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780439815017
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
11/01/2008
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author


Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1958, Roddy Doyle has become one of the most renown and celebrated Irish authors of the late twentieth century. Doyl received his Bachelor of Arts from St. Finian’s Christian Brothers School in Sutton and went on to University College, Dublin. Upon the completion of his education, Roddy Doyle worked as a Geography and English teacher in Kilbarrack, North Dublin.

Roddy Doyle’s adult novel, Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha, a story about a ten-year old boy living Ireland, won Doyle the Booker Prize, the United Kingdom’s greatest literary honor.

Roddy Doyle lives in Ireland with his wife, Belinda and their two children.

Scotland native Freya Blackwood grew up and currently lives in Orange, NSW, about three and a half hours west of Sydney (Australia). Creativity is in her blood. Her mother, Kay, is a painter and jeweler, and her father, John, is an architect. As her grandfather was also a painter, there was ample influence and encouragement in artistic pursuits as she grew up.

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