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A child living in the Arctic learns that a mother's love is unconditional.
--SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL, Starred Review
A young girl asks how much her mother loves her, even when she is naughty, and receives warm, reassuring answers. The twist on this familiar theme is that the two are Inuits, and the text and pictures draw on their unique culture: "What if I put salmon in your parka, ermine in your mittens, and lemmings in your mukluks?" asks the girl. Two pages of back matter define and explain the functions of various terms in Inuit life past and present. Charming, vibrant watercolor illustrations expand the simple rhythmic text, adding to the characters' personalities and to the cultural information. Ceremonial masks appear in the corner of several pages and on the endpapers, a nice detail in a well-designed book.
--THE HORN BOOK MAGAZINE, November 1991
"Mama, do you love me?" Every child in the world wants a reassuring answer, including this small Inuit girl in long-ago northern Alaska. In a series of questions and answers reminiscent of Margaret Wise Brown's The Runaway Bunny(Harper), the child uses her imagination to test her mother's love. The answer is always a positive one, but the mother is also honest. " 'What if I put salmon in your parka, ermine in your mittens, and lemmings in your mukluks?' 'Then I would be angry.' 'What if I threw water at our lamp?' 'Then, Dear One, I would be very angry. But still, I would love you.'" The whale-oil lamp is pictured clearly, and its importance is explained in the two-page glossary at the end of the book: "The lamp in an Inuit home was never left untended because it was such a vital part of daily survival." The rounded, stylized watercolors are brightly appealing, full of humor and love. The small challenger stands with her hands on her hips looking way up at the tall, broad mother who has her hands on her hips; in another picture there is a huge hug which encompasses mother, girl, and doll in a mass of variously flowered dress fabric and black braids. The book is a beautiful combination of a rich culture and a universal theme.
--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, August 1991
"Yes I do, Dear One," answers the mother whose daughter asks her the question posed in the book's title. And how long will she love her child? "I will love you until the umiak flies into the darkness, till the stars turn to fish in the sky, and the puffin howls at the moon," responds the mother soothingly, employing images familiar to the Inuit people of Northern Alaska where this Iyrical story is set. Echoing the simplicity of Joosee's verse are Lavallee's stylized illustrations, which convey the austerity of the arctic landscape while depicting the bright, intricate patterns and textures of Inuit garb. A glossary of terms used in the text is included at the end of this striking volume, which uses a timeless culture to convey a timeless message.
--PARENTS, December 1991
In a story reminiscent of the classic Ruraway Bunny, a child tests her mother's love: "What if I ran away?" she asks. "Then I would be worried," her mother answers."What if I turned into a polar bear, and I was the meanest bear you ever saw...and you cried?" says the girl. "Then I would be very surprised and very scared But still...I would love you" comes the reassuring reply. The arctic setting adds an intriguing dimension to a universal story.
This Book is a beautiful combination of a rich culture and a universal theme. The Horn Book
California's Children's Book Award
Posted July 2, 2000
This is a modern classic and if you don't know it you should! It's wonderful! A good book is simple and artistic enough to keep a young child's attention, but offers something for older kids as they grow. This one does that. Each page has a couple of sentences where a child keeps asking if her mama will love her even if she is naughty or whatever. The mother responds that she always will. The child's what-ifs get more and more outlandish (What if I stuffed salmon in your coat.... turned into a scary polar bear) but the mother replies always with the gentle constant love, along with 'Then I'd be angry' or 'Then I'd be surprised'. It's cute enough you don't mind reading it again and again, and it's full of Inuit culture. At the end, there is a glossary teaching you the Inuit words and animals used in the book. The love and humor will make it a favorite for children over many years, plus it's a great learning tool and plain old sweet. The art is fantastic too. I consider it a must-have!
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Posted December 14, 2012
This has always been on elf my favorite books. I love the illustrations and the sentiment. My 23 year old daughter still says to me"Mama, do you love me?" And I recite teh lines "...more than a dog loves its tail,...etc"Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 13, 2010
Just another reminder by Barbara M Joosse that "agape love is unconditional"!
There is not one thing my children can do to cause me not to love them. I don't always 'like' their choices, but would lay down my life for them in a heart beat.
Mama, Do You Love Me? is an excellent way to tell anyone that they are loved . . . in spite of themselves!
Posted February 12, 2010
My daughter is 2 and we really enjoy reading this book. I love that it teaches her another culture and that she repeats words she would otherwise likely not hear. The story is great. We have read the Papa version at the library and don't care for that one at all.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 27, 2008
This book is a favorite with my daughters. What kid doesn't like to hear over and over how much you love them no matter what! I am quoting this book for my daughter's high school graduation dedication. "I will love you forever and for always because you are my dear one!"Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 20, 2007
I discovered this book when we first moved to Alaska. Barbara Lavellee's illustrations are beautiful. The story is beautiful. Our kids LOVE the book. It quickly became our standard baby gift for friends in the Lower 48!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 12, 2010
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