Mama's Perfect Present


Finding the perfect birthday present for Mama is no easy task, even in a city as tempting as Paris. Come along with two picky shoppers and one darling dog as they zip from flower stall to fashion salon to patisserie, wreaking hilarious havoc at every turn. It's a shopping spree that's not to be missed!

"Clever and full of fun."--Booklist

Two children have some problems when they take their dog ...

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Finding the perfect birthday present for Mama is no easy task, even in a city as tempting as Paris. Come along with two picky shoppers and one darling dog as they zip from flower stall to fashion salon to patisserie, wreaking hilarious havoc at every turn. It's a shopping spree that's not to be missed!

"Clever and full of fun."--Booklist

Two children have some problems when they take their dog along as they search through the streets of Paris for just the right present for their mother's birthday.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
PW's starred review said that this companion to Where's Our Mama?, about two Parisian children and their chaos-causing dachshund, "will leave young readers chuckling and everyone else clucking an appreciative ooh-la-la." Ages 4-8. (May)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Mayhem? Mais oui! The rosy-cheeked children who searched Paris high and low in Where's Our Mama? are backand this time they are on a quest to find the ideal birthday gift for their dear mother. Accompanied by a beguiling but boisterous dachshund named Zaza, the kids take to the streets, cheerfully oblivious to the chaos Zaza creates in their wake. After a visit from these young shoppers, cakes topple at the bakery, flowers fly at the florist and the shoes are in a shambles at the shoe store. At last the kids follow Zaza's lead to the perfect selectionsomething not store-bought, but homemade. Goode's uncluttered text is the framework for a Parisian adventure awash in authentic City of Light atmosphere. From signage to doorways to shop windows, her architectural detail hits the mark. The knobby-kneed protagonists radiate sweetness and their personable pet could melt any reader's heart. Goode's latest will leave young readers chuckling at Zaza's exploits and everyone else clucking an appreciative ooh-la-la. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Alexandria LaFaye
In this sequel to Goode's Where's Our Mama, the lively, but mischievous dachshund, Zaza, leads her young owners in a disastrously funny search for a birthday present for their mother. Set in Paris, the soft hued watercolor illustrations provide a vividly detailed and comical depiction of this city in the 1920's. The children consider buying their mother flowers. In her attempt to help them pick some out, Zaza destroys a display of flowers. The children decide on a bird, but Zaza opens several cages and the children have to leave the bird stand. Zaza causes similar mishaps in the shoe store, the bakery, and the dress shop. It isn't until she finds a friend in the art store that Zaza is preoccupied enough to give the children time to buy their "gifts." Goode populates the streets and shops with delightfully quirky characters and creates beautiful and interesting settings. This droll book shows the children mixed up in one disaster after another while other people look on in amazement.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
For all who love Paris, don's miss this colorful story of 2 adorable children and their curious dachshund, Zara. From the moment the 3 leave their apartment in search of a present for their mama, pandemonium ensues wherever they go. At the patisserie, Zara's leash entangles the baker's foot as he carries a gorgeous cake to the display window. The result in pure slapstick. There are 2 levels in this book, one is for the kids who giggle at the antics of the characters, the other is for adults who appreciate the Parisian scenes with details of shops, the Josephine Baker look-alike and French names of stores like "La Vie En Rose Fleuriste, E. Piaf. Paris, 1906." The full page spread recreating Seurat's Sunday in the Park is a show stopper.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3They're backthe two irrepressible urchins who searched the streets of Paris in Where's Our Mama? (Dutton, 1991). Now they're hoping to find the perfect birthday present for their beloved parent. While the children innocently eye the possibilities from the fleuriste to the ptisserie, Zaza, their dachshund, creates chaos at every stop. Goode alternates single-page "before" and "after" scenes with double-page illustrations of full-blown, action-packed havoc. Cherry-colored dresses tumble, songbirds revel in their release, and a careening chef juggles the layers of a cake while Zaza happily devours spilling candy balls. The children matter-of-factly reject each potential gift. But fortune smiles on the trio when Zaza tracks down just the thinga set of paints. In a clever nod to Seurat, the children create a masterpiece for their mother while sitting in the park. The finished portrait of Mama incorporates elements from the shopping trip to give it a fresh and funny look. The shop signs are filled with French and English puns; the watercolor scenes are imbued with effervescence and light. Readers who look closely will see that it's a dog's world. A sweet confection with wide appealthe crme de la crme.Wendy Lukehart, Dauphin County Library, Harrisburg, PA
Ilene Cooper
Those two delightful daughters from "Where's Our Mama?" (1991) are searching Paris once more, but this time they are not looking for their mother, they just want to find the right gift for her. They investigate flowers in the flower stall, dresses in the designers' shops, songbirds in the pet shop. Zaza, their dachshund, manages to create havoc everywhere they go, but the sisters are oblivious and have no idea why people are bumbling and goods are tumbling just as they go by. Then a grand idea comes to them when they see a portrait painter. Buying paints and paper, they head to the park to create--it must be Sunday, because George and the rest of Seurat's crew is there in a parody of his famous picture. Mama loves the girls' self-portrait--it's the perfect present. The story is clever and full of fun, but it is really the pictures that make this come alive. Exquisitely drawn yet always centered on its two pint-size heroines, the book shows off the sophistication of Paris and juxtaposes it with the broad comedy of pratfalls and flying pastry. The result is as delectable as the pink birthday cake featured in the girls' portrait.
Kirkus Reviews
In this deadpan sequel to Where's Our Mama? (1991), the Parisian brother and sister and their disaster-causing dachshund are on a hunt for Mama's birthday present. At each fancy shop, Zaza slips away and, unnoticed for a few crucial seconds, sends racks flying, overturns dress mannequins, and topples store clerks, chefs, and shoppers. With Goode's jaunty illustrations, this is a deftly paced and sophisticated comedy that includes a parody of Seurat's Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. It's quite an outing, and the siblings do locate (and create) the perfect present.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525454939
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/1/1996
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 210L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.66 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.49 (d)

Meet the Author

Diane Goode

Diane Goode says, "In this book I wanted to capture the feeling that there's a wonderful world waiting right around the corner.” Since winning the Caldecott Honor for When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant at the start of her career, Diane Goode has written and illustrated such lovely picture books as Mama's Perfect Present and Thanksgiving is Here! Her son, Peter, to whom this book is dedicated, is now grown. The talented author-illustrator lives in Watch-ung, New Jersey, with her husband and their yellow Lab.

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