In Our Mothers' House

( 5 )

Overview

Marmee, Meema, and the kids are just like any other family on the block. In their beautiful house, they cook dinner together, they laugh together, and they dance together. But some of the other families don't accept them. They say they are different. How can a family have two moms and no dad? But Marmee and Meema's house is full of love. And they teach their children that different doesn't mean wrong. And no matter how many moms or dads they have, they are everything a family is...

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Overview

Marmee, Meema, and the kids are just like any other family on the block. In their beautiful house, they cook dinner together, they laugh together, and they dance together. But some of the other families don't accept them. They say they are different. How can a family have two moms and no dad? But Marmee and Meema's house is full of love. And they teach their children that different doesn't mean wrong. And no matter how many moms or dads they have, they are everything a family is meant to be.

Here is a true Polacco story of a family, living by their own rules, and the strength they gain by the love they feel.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
The family "in our mothers' house" is like many others, filled with love and fun, clearly seen in the smiling characters on the jacket. It is unusual only in that there are two mothers. The narrator is the eldest of three adopted children. She tells the story of her adoption and that of her brother Will and sister Millie. The children play, sing, and dance together, catch the flu, and celebrate holidays with the extended family. Only one neighbor seems to disapprove of the family at a big block party where all others are accepting. The children grow up, marry, have babies; their mothers die, but their hearts remain at the house where they found love. Polacco's standard pencils and markers fill each double-page scene with active, naturalistic children and adults amid details of clothing, suburban environment, and household chaos. The illustrations make it apparent that the children are genetically different, ranging from African American and Asian American to Millie's glowing red hair and pale skin. The genuine humane good feeling is only made richer by the contrasting nastiness of the neighbor. The lengthy text is a plea for the acceptance of one kind of the changing American family. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

Gr 1-4

This gem of a book illustrates how love makes a family, even if it's not a traditional one. The narrator, a black girl, describes how her two Caucasian mothers, Marmee and Meema, adopted her, her Asian brother, and her red-headed sister. She tells about the wonderful times they have growing up in Berkeley, CA. With their large extended family and friends, they celebrate Halloween with homemade costumes, build a tree house, organize a neighborhood block party, and host a mother-daughter tea party. The narrator continually reinforces the affectionate feelings among her mothers and siblings, and the illustrations depict numerous scenes of smiling people having a grand time. Most of the neighbors are supportive, except for one woman who tells Marmee and Meema, "I don't appreciate what you two are." Eventually, the children grow up, marry heterosexual spouses, and return home to visit their aged parents with their own children. Is this an idealized vision of a how a gay couple can be accepted by their family and community? Absolutely. But the story serves as a model of inclusiveness for children who have same-sex parents, as well as for children who may have questions about a "different" family in their neighborhood. A lovely book that can help youngsters better understand their world.-Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT

Kirkus Reviews
The placement of the title's possessive apostrophe here is no typo: Two mothers own this house, and they have filled it with lots of love. Unfortunately, while this ambitious picture book seeks to offer an inclusive vision of family, it ultimately comes up short. Meema and Marmee's eldest daughter offers a sweeping narrative about three children embraced by their loving, interracial, adoptive family and multicultural community, with their "mothers' house" at the center of it all. It is outside of this safe haven that the children face overt and neatly contained homophobia in the character of one bad apple, who declares, "I don't appreciate what you two are!" The distillation of hate into a single character undermines the reality of systematic oppression faced by same-sex couples; furthermore, the flash-forward narration depicting each child grown and married into heterosexual, monoracial unions ironically presents this family as an anomaly. There is a desperate need for books that present queer families as just another part of the American quilt, but this title, despite its obvious good intentions, doesn't do it. (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399250767
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 4/30/2009
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 135,388
  • Age range: 6 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: AD750L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 11.26 (w) x 8.80 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Polacco
Patricia Polacco lives in Union City, Michigan.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 7, 2009

    Forget the critics, this is a beautiful book

    In Our Mothers' House is a beautiful addition to Patricia Polacco's collection of cultural heritage and diversity picture books. The critics say that it is unrealistic to have a the family surrounded in love and acceptance from their neighbors with only a single character reacting negatively against the two mother family. This character, however, is reoccuring and any child of a two mother, or two father for that matter, household will most likely have enough experiences like this to compare. They don't need an entire book filled with people discriminating against a family like theirs. For children of non-lesbian/gay households, the lesson of hate is represented. More importantly, this book is about love, and that is what makes it special and important. It shows a family and a community that are supportive and joyous together, accepting all of the community members, even those who are not themselves accepting. Marmee and Meema never lash out or say unkind things to the woman that glares at them and their children. They simply explain that she is afraid and doesn't understand them. In Our Mothers' House is another brilliant success in lessons of love and diversity for Patricia Polacco and is a book that any parent and any child could fall in love with.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    Patricia Polacco is a master story teller and has once again managed to help young children (and adults) understand a subject that often raises controversy in this warm story of a family. This book helps children understand that there are many kinds of families and all of them are just fine. I have used this book in my elementary classroom. I would definitely recommend this book to parents and educators.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2009

    Very heart-warming

    It's a sweet book that might bring a tear to your eye.
    The narrator is the eldest daughter with two mothers. She describes her loved-filled family in an inclusive manner.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 5 Customer Reviews

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