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Molly's Family
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Molly's Family

5.0 1
by Garden, Sharon Wooding (Illustrator)
 

What makes a family?

The members of Ms. Marston's kindergarten class are cleaning and decorating their room for the upcoming Open School Night. Molly and Tommy work on drawing pictures to put on the walls. Molly draws her family: Mommy, Mama Lu, and her puppy, Sam. But when Tommy looks at her picture, he tells her it's not of a family. "You can't have

Overview

What makes a family?

The members of Ms. Marston's kindergarten class are cleaning and decorating their room for the upcoming Open School Night. Molly and Tommy work on drawing pictures to put on the walls. Molly draws her family: Mommy, Mama Lu, and her puppy, Sam. But when Tommy looks at her picture, he tells her it's not of a family. "You can't have a mommy and a mama," he says. Molly doesn't know what to think; no one else in her class has two mothers. She isn't sure she wants her picture to be on the wall for Open School Night.

Molly's dilemma, sensitively explored in words and art, shows readers that even if a family is different from others, it can still be happy, loving, and real.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Insightful...By referring to diverse families and picturing a multicultural classroom, Garden and Wooding suggest that these conversations can take place just about anywhere, in any small town or big city." — Publishers Weekly

"Long-overdue...why are there still so few Mollys for child readers to encounter?" — Kirkus Reviews

"Wooding's warm, soft-textured colored-pencil pictures show Molly in her lively classroom and in her happy, nurturing home...[Molly's Family] will open up discussion in many families." — Booklist

Publishers Weekly
In Garden's (Annie on My Mind) quietly insightful book, questions about same-sex parenting arise when Molly draws a family portrait for her kindergarten open house. "First she drew Mommy. Then she drew Mama Lu. And then she drew Sam, her puppy." When Tommy sees Molly's picture, he challenges it: "You can't have a mommy and a mama." Soon the other children gather to offer their input. One has a traditional nuclear family, another lives with his father but nobody has two mothers. As Molly's body language goes from defiant to anxious, teacher Ms. Marston overhears the debate and sits down to pacify the situation. "Is Mama Lu visiting?... Is she your aunt?" she asks. When Molly answers no, Ms. Marston tells everyone, "It looks to me as if you can have a mommy and a mama." Garden depicts a credible evolution of Molly's feelings. At first, she is shaken and, even after asking her mothers about their relationship that night, she leaves her family portrait at home the next day. Only after reflecting on her parents' love, and noting the "different kinds of families in her very own class," does Molly willingly display her picture again. Wooding, who details the scenes in feathery pencil shading and soft watercolor wash, pictures an everyday classroom and individualizes all the characters. By referring to diverse families and picturing a multicultural classroom, Garden and Wooding suggest that these conversations can take place just about anywhere, in any small town or big city. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
As her kindergarten class prepares for "Open School Night," Molly draws a picture of her family to be among those decorating the classroom walls. Tommy scoffs at Molly's picture, "That's not a family." Molly insists it is her family and Tommy asks, "Where's your daddy." Molly doesn't have a daddy. She has drawn a picture showing Mommy, Mama Lu and her dog, Sam. This leads to a discussion about the different kinds of families. Stephan does not have a daddy either and Adam has only a dad. But the children still insist that Molly cannot have two mommies. Her teacher, Mrs. Marston, looks at the picture and agrees with Molly that she certainly can have two mommies. Nonetheless, Molly is hesitant to have her picture hanging on the wall. She talks to her mommies and Mrs. Marston and thinks some more about the different kinds of families before deciding to have her picture displayed on Open School Night and, of course, everyone has a wonderful time. Kids are so sensitive about being laughed at and it's admirable that this story discourages such behavior and offers comfort to those children who may have a different kind of family. However, the text could be livelier and such depth of discussion would seem to be beyond the abilities of kindergarteners. 2004, Farrar Straus Giroux, Ages 4 to 6.
—Carolyn Mott Ford
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-To get ready for kindergarten Open School Night, Molly draws a picture of her family to hang on the wall-herself, Mommy, Mama Lu, and their puppy. After seeing the picture, her classmates tell her, "No one has two mommies." Despite her teacher's efforts to be supportive, the child is still concerned. That night, her parents explain, "we decided we had so much love that we wanted to share it with a baby." Thus, one of them is her birth mother; the other an adoptive parent. Still, Molly leaves her drawing home the next day. With further matter-of-fact reassurance by her teacher and the budding understanding that all families are different, Molly, and indeed the whole class, grows to accept her own family, and she proudly hangs her picture on the wall. While the children in the story are not shy about expressing their feelings, the author diffuses any tension by remaining focused on logic: Molly's family is as she claims. By tying this specific household to the general diversity within all families, Garden manages to celebrate them all. The soft colored-pencil drawings with their many realistic details depict a room full of active kindergartners. There is a squat sweetness to the characters as they work together to make everything look and feel right.-Martha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this long-overdue alternative to Leslea Newman's groundbreaking, but one-dimensional Heather Has Two Mommies (1989), a kindergartener has a quiet crisis when a classmate confidently informs her that she can't have both a mommy and a Mama. But Molly does, and Tommy's comment not only requires some calming explanations at home from Molly's Mommy and Mama Lu, but sparks an eye-opening conversation about different family situations in class, too. Staid page design, plus generic figures portrayed in smudgy colors, with some awkwardly drawn hands and faces, will tell viewers from the outset that they're in for a theme-centered tale-still, Garden makes her points lightly enough to leave only a few bruises, and Molly regains her equanimity in time for the episode to end on an upbeat note. The real question is why are there still so few Mollys for child readers to encounter? (Picture book. 5-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780374350024
Publisher:
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date:
04/07/2004
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.29(w) x 9.78(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Related Subjects

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Insightful...By referring to diverse families and picturing a multicultural classroom, Garden and Wooding suggest that these conversations can take place just about anywhere, in any small town or big city." — Publishers Weekly

"Long-overdue...why are there still so few Mollys for child readers to encounter?" — Kirkus Reviews

"Wooding's warm, soft-textured colored-pencil pictures show Molly in her lively classroom and in her happy, nurturing home...[Molly's Family] will open up discussion in many families." — Booklist

Meet the Author

Nancy Garden is the author of young adult novels including Annie on My Mind, The Year They Burned the Books, and Endgame. She is also the author of the YA nonfiction book Hear Us Out!, as well as novels for children. Garden was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and has lived most of her life in New England and New York. She spent her early adult years working in theater, doing office work, teaching, and editing. During that time, she wrote in the evenings, on weekends, and on vacations, as well as at odd moments while working. Now she writes as close to full-time as possible. When she isn't writing, visiting schools, or making speeches, she enjoys reading, gardening, hiking, the outdoors, and anything to do with dogs. She has received the Margaret A. Edwards Award, the Lambda Book Award and the Robert Downs Intellectual Freedom Award. She and her partner of over twenty years divide their time between small towns in Massachusetts and Maine.

 

Sharon Wooding is an author and illustrator of children's books who lives in Groton, Massachusetts.

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Molly's Family 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago