Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
Nonie has had it with her familya squalling baby brother and mush for breakfast again. It is just too much. She goes next door to live with Grandma. Grandma listens when Nonie is talking, and she does not serve mush! Her wise grandmother just nods and takes her hand as they walk to church together. Nonie stays solemn and does not smile when Daddy passes the collection plate, but perks up when she hears about the church picnic that afternoon. After eating, Grandma just wants to rest her bones on a bench, but Daddy is ready for a boat ride and time on the swings. By the end of the afternoon, Nonie knows where she belongs. She goes home where her smiling momma and her baby brother greet her. Softly colored pastel illustrations depict a loving African-American family. This book would be a good choice for sharing with children experiencing the arrival of new siblings in their families. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Nonie, a young African-American girl, sits at the breakfast table with her parents and a wailing baby, sulking: "'Not gonna eat my mush. Not gonna eat it!' I say. 'Squishy, yucky, yellow stuff-mush is baby food.'" She puts on her shiny black shoes, and, with her chin poked out, stomps off to live with Grandma (next door), where there's no mushy mush or bawling babies, and where "Grandma attends when I'm talkin'." Nonie feels better as she and Grandma go to church, but when Daddy passes the collection plate, he faces a still-frowning daughter. Later, at the church picnic, her mood lightens and she allows her dad to give her a paddleboat ride. Pointing out animals, he says, "Ducklings stick with their families.... Lots to learn from ducks." By day's end, Nonie has decided to return home and is greeted by her baby brother's great big smile and Momma's warm welcome. The story is told in two to four short sentences per page. The spare text deftly conveys Nonie's reactions and emotions, which are clearly reflected in Tadgell's realistic, folksy watercolors sweeping across double pages. Ultimately, this gentle story addresses the universal frustration older siblings often face at having a new baby in the family.-Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
After her baby brother's arrival, young Nonie must cope with the reality that she is no longer her parents' only priority. She uses another morning of mush for breakfast as an excuse to move in with Grandma, who lives next door, and Grandma gives Nonie all the attention she craves. After services at church and a following picnic that gives her a chance to reconnect with her family-" 'Baby's been missin' me some?' I ask. / Momma nods, attendin' now"-Nonie decides to try living with her parents once more. Using watercolors, Tadgell creates a soft dreamlike world filled with details. Nonie's small duck is on every page; like her family, it is always with her, and by the end of the story, she learns to share it with her sibling, just as she must learn to share her parents. The text uses dialect and some grammatically incorrect English, which does not add to the story, but is simple and straightforward. Overall, a delightful book. (Picture book. 3-7)