Children's Literature - Uma KrishnaswamiCold cereal is sad food in Amanda Martha's house. Because Amanda Martha's mother has "something called depression," and some days, she just feels terrible. In this simple story of a family, a child and a cat, the reader is led to an understanding of the everyday consequences of depression, and of the even more important realization that despite the inroads it can make on people and families, love can survive. The illustrations by Gail Owens run from soft and hopeful to dark and haunting.
School Library Journal - School Library JournalPreS-Gr 3-A simple, low-key story to help explain depression to children. Amanda Martha wants a cat, but her mother is often too sick to take care of a pet. She doesn't have the kind of illness you can see, but instead suffers from bouts of depression. Amanda Martha explains that at her house there are ``sad days, glad days, mostly in-between days.'' When an alley cat wanders into the yard, Amanda Martha feeds him, and he slowly he comes to trust her and becomes her pet. The explanation of depression is adequate for young children, describing a victim's behavior and touching on its impact on the rest of the family. The realistic illustrations reflect the mood of the text-dark when mother is feeling bad, bright when she feels better-but there is an overriding somber cast. This title can certainly be helpful to individuals coping with such situations, but the text largely ignores the fact that today depression is a curable disease for most sufferers.-Martha Gordon, formerly at South Salem Library, NY
Stephanie ZvirinA foreword by a medical professional introduces this sensitive bibliotherapeutic picture book about a child whose mother suffers from depression. There isn't much plot: Amanda Martha explains about the sad days, glad days, and in-between days at her house, which are determined by how her mother feels. The story's ending is upbeat--Amanda Martha is allowed to keep the cat she has so longed for--but Hamilton offers no false promises to kids whose parents suffer from the illness. Instead, she offers a strong depiction of an honest, loving mother-and-child relationship that's constantly being tested, and a picture of a child who learns that she's neither the cause of nor the solution to her mother's problem. Owens' double-page-spread illustrations, in mostly cool colors, noticeably darken on sad days; on happy days, the pictures glow with bright hues.
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