Mama, Don't Go Out Tonight

Overview

"Mama, Mama, don't go out tonight!" says one little girl as her mother gets ready for a fancy-dress ball. But Mama reassures her that nighttime is grown-up time and Daisy will be over to babysit.

With ingenious design and illustrations that dance off the page, the reader watches Daisy and the little girl create their own fun with dress-up clothes and books, while, at the same time, Mama steps and twirls in her fancy dress. A goodnight kiss when Mama returns home is the perfect ...

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Overview

"Mama, Mama, don't go out tonight!" says one little girl as her mother gets ready for a fancy-dress ball. But Mama reassures her that nighttime is grown-up time and Daisy will be over to babysit.

With ingenious design and illustrations that dance off the page, the reader watches Daisy and the little girl create their own fun with dress-up clothes and books, while, at the same time, Mama steps and twirls in her fancy dress. A goodnight kiss when Mama returns home is the perfect ending to this sweet, reassuring story.

A little girl's concerns about her mother leaving her for the evening disappear once she finds out how much fun the babysitter can be.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Mama has a big night out and she's as gussied up as Cinderella (she's even accessorized her poufy gown with a tiara). But her little daughter doesn't like the idea one bit. "Why can't I come with you?" she asks. "Because it's nighttime and nighttime is grown-up time," Mama replies. Unassuaged, the girl voices her fears about separation via fantasy situations that could arise ("Mama, you might get kidnapped by pirates"; "The cat could have kittens"). Each fantasy dominates a spread, but Gardner (The Book of Princesses) cleverly keeps a sliver of the picture firmly anchored in real life, and she sensibly refrains from showing Mama waffling. Once Mama arrives at her fancy dress ball (where a tuxedoed date awaits), the spreads are split horizontally by festive ribbons, and readers can follow both Mama's grown-up fun and the girl's pretend play with her baby-sitter. Gardner may stretch the perimeter of most readers' reality in making the night out so extravagant (cocktails and dancing are plausible, but a ride home on an elephant?), yet the choice to make the event fairy tale-like neatly avoids grittier issues surrounding a single parent's social life. This tale keeps the mood light while firmly conveying that mamas deserve the chance to trip the light fantastic-and that their children can happily survive. Ages 4-8. (Nov.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Most small children would prefer to have their parents stay with them all the time, and the main character of this book is no exception. Despite the child's most persuasive arguments ("Mama, a giant could take you away and a monster might eat you up"), Mama does indeed go out for the evening, and gradually the little girl learns to have a wonderful time with her babysitter. Gardner's illustrations are absolutely delightful. In fact, the pictures tell a more compelling story than the text. Early on, we hear the child worry that her mother will be kidnapped by pirates; later we see her playing pirate with her babysitter. When we see the child wearing princess dress-ups, dancing with her babysitter, we also see Mama dressed as a princess, dancing in a ballroom dance competition with her partner. The text, though appropriate enough, is made less effective by the lack of dialogue attribution. Without dialogue tags, the story is more awkward to read aloud than it should be. However, for most children, the fun, colorful illustrations will compensate adequately for the minor problems with the story. 2002, Bloomsbury Children's Books,
— Anne Marie Pace
School Library Journal
PreS-K-A reassuring tale about a little girl who worries about her mother leaving for the evening, but who ends up having a fine time. When the child shares her fears that Mama might be eaten by a monster or kidnapped by pirates, the parent calmly sets her straight. The baby-sitter arrives and plays with her, and the contented child falls asleep. The story is told entirely in dialogue, with different fonts distinguishing the girl's words from those of her mother. The imaginary scenarios are depicted in bold, colorful spreads, which are clearly distinguished from the white backgrounds and simpler coloring of the real world. As she plays with Daisy, the imaginary scenes continue in a more pleasant vein, this time showing her parents in a series of festive settings. Her concluding dream brings back the giants and monsters from her earlier worries, but this time they are nonthreatening. There's no real transition that explains why the girl so instantly forgets her fear and starts playing with the baby-sitter. Instead, readers see her newfound calmness through the pictures. This lighthearted approach may comfort anxious young kids, and the mildly silly illustrations make it interesting enough for general interest as well.-Steven Engelfried, Beaverton City Library, OR Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A child frets about her mother leaving for the evening in this quirky, appealing tale. Arranged as a conversation between mother and child, the text addresses all the far-fetched fears a child can conjure. Rampaging pirates, lurking dragons, beguiling circus careers, a perilous giant, and even an impossibly enceinte feline are all put forth as valid reasons for the mother to stay home. After mother leaves with a reassuring hug, the child discovers all the fun having a sitter can entail. As the evening wanes, the young girl eagerly anticipates when her sitter will come again to play. The ingeniously arranged illustrations are the real lure here. A full-bleed, two-page spread focuses on each specific concern; the upper three-quarters of the spread feature the girl's vivid imaginings: Mama decked out in her evening finery (including tiara) valiantly battling pirates, cavorting at the circus, etc. The lower quarter of the pages depicts the reality: the daughter in a pirate's hat brandishing a wand, or playing circus with her stuffed animals. Dividing the fantasy from the reality is a swath of ribbon that runs across the spread, with the text printed onto the cloth. The gaily colored ribbons overlay the illustrations for an intriguing collage effect. After mother leaves, the spreads become more balanced, with the ribbons dividing the pages in half, as each portion reflects the reality of the mother's night out and the child's enjoyable time with her sitter. The final scene depicting the child nestled in bed with her mother, now returned safely home is all the reassurance a wary child could need. Imaginative and brimming with lively artwork, this is bound to captivate and soothe anxiousreaders. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781582347905
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 11/9/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST US
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 12.98 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Sally Gardner

Sally Gardner is the author and illustrator of a number of charming books for children including The Book of Princesses and The Fairy Tale Catalogue. She lives in England.

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