Mama's Saris

Overview

When a young girl eyes her mother's suitcase full of gorgeous silk, cotton and embroidered saris, she decides that she, too, should wear one, even though she is too young for such clothing. When the mother finally realizes how important it is for her little girl to feel like a big girl on her seventh birthday, she dresses up her daughter in the folds of a blue sari. Feeling grown-up and very pretty, the daughter is thrilled to look just like her mother, even if only for a day. Mama's Saris captures an elegant ...

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Overview

When a young girl eyes her mother's suitcase full of gorgeous silk, cotton and embroidered saris, she decides that she, too, should wear one, even though she is too young for such clothing. When the mother finally realizes how important it is for her little girl to feel like a big girl on her seventh birthday, she dresses up her daughter in the folds of a blue sari. Feeling grown-up and very pretty, the daughter is thrilled to look just like her mother, even if only for a day. Mama's Saris captures an elegant snapshot of every girl's wish to play dress up.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Featuring a rich palette of colors and intricately detailed patterns, Gomez's (Through the Heart of the Jungle) realistic acrylic paintings deftly depict the lovely saris at the center of Makhijani's (Under Her Skin: How Girls Experience Race in America) simple story. On her seventh birthday, an Indian-American girl begs to wear one of her mother's saris, which she keeps in a suitcase under her bed. In evocative, lyrical language, the young narrator explains that, though her mother wears a sari only on special occasions, her grandmother wears them every day: "The folds and nooks of Nanima's saris hold lots of secrets. I always find coins tied into the ends and safety pins fastened on the inside, and I smell the scent of cardamom and sandalwood soap all over." As the youngster recalls the specific saris her mother has worn at various events, she tries to convince Mama that she is indeed old enough to wear a sari, and the woman finally relents. The girl selects a blue sari "with gold flowers that dance along the border," and Mama carefully wraps the fabric around her-and even lends her fancy bangle bracelets and places a bindion her forehead. A final, affecting illustration reveals mother and daughter reflected side-by-side in a mirror, while the child (responding to her mother's question, "So, what do you think?") says, with obvious pleasure, "I think I look just like you!" Narrative and art pay satisfying tribute to a treasured tradition. Ages 3-6. (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz
Our young narrator longs to be able to wear a sari like her mother's saris that she admires. As her Mama takes them out to choose one to wear for her birthday party, the girl remembers when her mother wore each one. She insists she is old enough to wear one now for her birthday. Her mother wraps a chosen one around her, but gold bangles are still too big. Last comes a bindi, to stick on her forehead. Finally, our heroine is happy to see in the mirror how much she looks like her mother. The very simple story offers the illustrator a chance to use acrylics to depict a range of beautiful saris as well as to provide appealing portraits of mother and daughter. Even an intricately patterned bedspread enhances our understanding of the Indian love of decorated fabrics. The author adds a note on the place of saris in her own family background. There is also a glossary of the Hindi words in the story.
Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Luscious, rich and drenched in memory, Pooja Makhijani's gorgeous picture book is carefully illustrated in colors and textures in tune with its subject, the six-yard draped garment known as the sari. A young girl sees her mother tying a sari on in honor of the girl's seventh birthday. She longs to wear one, too. She begs and pleads; Mama resists gently before giving in at last. The book is a mother-daughter bonding experience in silk and cotton, zari and pleat and fold. Makhijani captures the childhood longing to grow up, dress up and make believe, all at once, and she contextualizes it against the backdrop of the Indian-American experience. A glossary is included for those who need it, as is an author's note for grownups. Young girls will respond to the luminous color and the deftly wrapped text, and moms without saris on hand might need to extend their dress-up wardrobes. This book perfect complements Sandhya Rao's picture book, My Mother's Sari (Tulika Books (India), 2006; North-South, 2006). While Rao's book, also pitch-perfect, is set in India, this one uses the sari as a sensory link between generations in an immigrant community.
School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2
On her seventh birthday, the narrator helps her mother select a sari to put on for her party and they recall the various occasions at which she wore each beautiful outfit. In the process, readers learn that the girl's mother only dons a sari for special events, while her grandmother dresses in one every day. The child pleads to be allowed to wear one and her mother finally agrees, saying, "just today, because it's your birthday." Mama wraps the cloth around her, finishing with bangles and a bindi (a decorative mark worn on the forehead). The child's happiness is evident in her expression as she tells her mother, "I think I look like you!" The colorful, detailed acrylic illustrations complement the simple storyline by showing the designs of the various saris mentioned in the text. A glossary of the Hindi words is provided. A pleasant offering about family traditions that depicts a positive interaction between mother and daughter.
—Margaret R. TassiaCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
It's a girl's seventh birthday, and she wants to wear a sari, like her mother, who wears one on special occasions. "When you get older," Mama gently tells her, and then asks for help in choosing one to wear. Together they go through all of the saris, each one more beautiful than the next, each with its own memories. When they find a glowing orange one that Mama wore when the girl was born, it's clearly the best choice. Compared to Mama, though, the girl feels drab, so Mama finally agrees that it's time for the girl's first sari. The girl chooses a glittering blue-and-gold one, and Mama carefully pins it on, adds some bangles and finishes with a bindi. Enthralled, the girl turns to the mirror, and she is overjoyed to see that she looks just like Mama. Bright glowing saris float across the pages and frame this loving mother and daughter as they share memories and appreciate the beautiful fabrics and patterns. (glossary, author's note) (Picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316011051
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 5/1/2007
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Lexile: NC820L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Pooja Makhijani's writing for young adults has been published by teen literary magazine, Cicada. She is the editor of the Under Her Skin: How Girls Experience Race in America: How Girls Experience Race in America, an anthology of essays. She earned a Masters in Fine Arts from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005 and is currently an Associate Editor for Weekly Reader, an educational magazine with games, quizzes, and articles for kids.

Elena Gomez has illustrated a number of children's books including A World of Prayers, Elliot and the Big Wave, The House that Jack Built, and Through the Heart of the Jungle. She has also illustrated greeting cards, posters and calendars.

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