What if Mom and Dad were finally jailed for their crimes against their school-age daughter's humanity (e.g., talking too loudly and enforcing a regular bedtime)? How perfect would that be? The sweetness of our narrator's vision fades, however, when she realizes there would be no one around to love her and take care of her. Feiffer and Goode (previously paired for President Pennybaker) give this old chestnut of a story line an urbane sheen. The author understands that children like to assume a voice of objective authority by referring to themselves in the third-person plural ("[My mom] makes people's boo-boos stop hurting"). And while it seems a bit anachronistic that Goode dresses Mom in a pink shirtwaist worthy of Father Knows Best, her watercolor vignettes are gems of wry intelligence and comic understatement. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
This girl's mom may look like a nice person and she does some nice things. She makes people smile. She feeds hungry people and she helps heal boo-boos. But this mom has five bad habits. She kisses her daughter in front of her friends. She brings changes of clothes to school. She talks too loudly. She is particular about what her daughter eats. And she worries too much, keeping the girl from doing fun things. The girl comes up with a farfetched plan for reporting her mother to the police and getting her arrested and put in jail for ruining her daughter's life. Then her dad will also be incarcerated for the five annoying things he does. Life will be perfect without her parentsexcept there will not be any dinner when she gets home, no bedtime story, and no sleep because no one will tell her to turn out the light. And being alone would be really scary. After due consideration, the girl runs into her parents' bedroom to tell them she loves them. Vignettes in pastel shades depict the girl's thoughts as she comes to the right conclusion. A bit silly in places but a good reminder of how nice it is to have parents around. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
After stating that her mother "looks like a nice mom" who takes people where they need to go and makes boo-boos stop hurting, Emma goes on to list the ways her parents are trying to ruin her life. She imagines them both thrown in jail for their crimes of kissing her in front of her friends, worrying too much, and making her clean her room and do her homework. But thinking about a parent-free life only serves to remind her how much she really does need her mom and dad, and in the end she says, "I love you!" Done in bright pinks and greens, the expressive cartoon illustrations bring a lot of personality and humor to the plot, but frustrated kids and their struggling parents will find this saccharine story a bit too naive.-Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA
A young girl recites a litany of offenses inflicted by her parents. Giving kisses goodbye in front of friends, a loud voice and excessive worrying are all evidence of reckless mothering. With sly humor, Feiffer details the child's elaborate-yet-doomed plans for escape. A final, desperate appeal to the authorities results in her hapless mother's incarceration. Dad, too, must pay his dues for such transgressions as enforcing a set bedtime, requiring a clean bedroom and the like. With glee, the child ponders a future free of parental interference. However, the veracity of the caveat "be careful what you wish for" soon becomes evident as the child envisions life on her own: "if...I have a bad dream because I went to bed hungry and without any stories and nothing to drink, there will be no one there to hug me and say, ‘It's just a dream.' " Goode's watercolor illustrations adeptly convey the wry tone of the tale, her orange-ponytailed little girl displaying a unibrow scowl as she contemplates her mother's sins. A comical rebuttal to a familiar childhood lament. (Picture book. 4-8)