Offering a scaly twist on Mother's Day, Violet is a friendly orange snake sporting a purple beret, but unlike her woodland friends, she can't figure out what to do for her mother on Mother's Day—especially without “arms or legs or teeth.” But using her creativity (and flexibility), she finds a way to express her love. Violet's goofy dinosaur looks are a quirky contrast to Ember's buoyant springtime forest, where the woodsier animals look more at home. Surprisingly, only Violet's mother makes an appearance, and even that is fleeting. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)
- Mary Hynes-Berry
Violet is a young snake who loves her mother—just as all the creatures do. However, as spring continues, Violet notices her usual friends are all too busy to play—they are all making Mother's Day gifts. Little squirrel sorts through acorns to find the crunchiest ones, while the bear cub squishes honey from honey combs. Violet wonders what she can do for her mother. It is not easy to come up with a perfect gift when her snaky form leaves her without arms or legs or teeth to work with. In the end, she comes up with the perfect snake solution—she slinks herself into a heart shape. Both the tale and the language are a little strained. Ember's drawings are brightly colored; her animal creatures verge on the edge of cartoonlike. Reviewer: Mary Hynes-Berry
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Come May, Mother's Day picture books are always in demand, but this bland offering is not likely to attract a following. Violet, a spotted snake, is shown frolicking with her woodland friends—rabbits, bats, chipmunks, squirrels, and other critters that would more probably be considered prey more than pals. As spring nears, she notices that they are busy making gifts for their mothers: a squirrel gathers extra-crunchy acorns, a bear collects honey, and a beaver carves a statue. Violet worries that "without arms or legs or teeth, she couldn't make anything like the other animals." She finally comes up with an idea and on the big day surprises her mother by contorting her body into the shape of a valentine. Ember's acrylic illustrations, while endearing, are somewhat puzzling. The forest prior to spring is in full greenery, and although Violet frets that she has no teeth, her toothy smile is displayed on every page. And the picture of her giving a horsey-back ride—complete with reins—to some squirrels is just plain weird. Vivian French's A Present for Mom (Candlewick, 2002) or Eve Bunting's The Mother's Day Mice (Sandpiper, 1988) are better choices for Mom's special day.—Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT
Young Violet likes "sliding and slithering and shedding her skin whenever it got old," as well as distinctly un-snakely activities such as racing with rabbits, hanging with bats and fooling around with chipmunks. One spring day, however, none of her friends is able to play; they are all getting ready for Mother's Day. What's a critter with no opposable thumbs, let alone arms, legs or teeth, to do? With a little sinuous ingenuity, Violet thinks up the perfect gift. While it's clear that Krensky needs a snake for the plot's payoff, by sacrificing everything behavioral that makes a snake a snake, he takes all possible zing out of his story. Ember's illustrations are equally pallid; Violet has teeny fangs and what looks a little like a rattle, but it's clear all she eats is marshmallows. (Picture book. 3-5)
Ideal for both mothers and the kids who love them, this sweet story about resourcefulness strikes a happy balance of sentiment and satisfaction. Violet, a young snake, observes other animal children busily creating Mother's Day gifts, but all the projects seem to require things Violet doesn't have: arms, legs, or teeth. It's up to her to figure out something her body can do to show how much she loves her mother. The soft, bright acrylic illustrations portray a cheerful array of forest animals...