There's a House Inside My Mommy

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A preschooler reasons that his pregnant mother's growing body contains an actual domicile for his sibling-to-be: "My daddy says I lived there too/ When I was being made/ But I don't remember very much/ About it, I'm afraid." Andreae and Cabban (previously paired for Love Is a Handful of Honey) opt for a tone of maximum reassurance the boy expresses no anxieties about being displaced and gets plenty of unharried attention and snuggling from both placid-looking parents. But Cabban's warm-toned watercolor cartoons still have a bit of realism: Mommy is seen grazing at the refrigerator and conked out on the sofa, and, as he and Mommy take a bubble bath together, the boy runs a toy car over her belly. Andreae's rhymes about "Mommy's tummy house" veer between soothing and precious. (Reporting that sometimes Mommy "feels so sick," the boy concludes, "If I had a house in me,/ I'd feel all yucky, too.") While some readers will likely find the tone and cadences condescending, very young children looking forward to the birth of a sibling will probably enjoy seeing their enthusiasm reflected here. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Years ago, Mary Ann Hoberman gave us the poem "A House is a House For Me," a creative look at what can be considered a home for something else. Giles Andreae uses the same idea in this story told from a young child's perspective. As the little boy watches his mother's stomach grow bigger and bigger, his parents explain that it is the house for his new brother or sister until it is time for the birth. The tummy house keeps the baby warm, snug, and protected. The food that Mommy eats finds its way to the baby as it plays and swims in the home that is more like a bathtub than a bed. Simple rhyming text in the child's voice helps others to understand that a pregnant mom gets very tired, eats strange foods, and sometimes feels yucky. Waiting for the new sibling can be hard and the little boy wishes that the tummy house had a window to look into. Finally, the story ends with the birth of a new brother and the hint that there may someday be another occupant in the tummy house. This is a gentle story that will appeal to young children who are anticipating a new arrival. Large, colorful illustrations echo the simplicity of the text. 2002, Albert Whitman & Company,
— Carol Lynch
School Library Journal
PreS-Using a simple rhyming structure, a young boy describes the changes in his pregnant mother by imagining that within her big belly there is a house where the new baby stays. This belief helps him to understand why her tummy gets bigger and why she eats crazy things, and gives him empathy for her need to rest or for her times of feeling sick-"-if I had a house in me I'd feel all yucky too." There is nothing technical here, no pictures of the baby's growth or use of scientific terms. Rather, the book is told in toddler speak-the baby sleeps in a sort of giant bathtub and he can't come out yet because the door is still shut tight. While this approach is effective, when reading the book out loud the singular view created does wear thin-not all pages are equally clever. Plus, the final page, when the baby has arrived so "There's no one in her tummy now," seems abrupt. It's a concrete conclusion and appropriate for the target age, and yet unexpected due to a lack of buildup. The positive outlook of the enthusiastic, innocent narrator is reinforced by the sunny, pleasant illustrations. The full-color art is reminiscent of the work of Helen Oxenbury, with sweet open-faced characters and a soothing use of muted primary colors, with a predominance of mustard yellow. Overall, this is a soothing book with a unique perspective, but it's not essential.-Martha Topol, Traverse Area District Library, Traverse City, MI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A tot’s wide-eyed anticipation of the arrival of his sibling is the focus of this gently humorous tale. Narrated by the soon-to-be-big brother, Andreae’s (Cock-A-Doodle-Doo, not reviewed, etc.) sprightly verses detail the various stages of pregnancy using terminology and descriptive passages perfectly suited for young children. With the literalism of youth, the tot describes his mother’s expanding middle as the house where the baby grows and likens her womb to a cozy bathtub for the infant. The narrator blithely addresses cravings: "He seems to want such funny things / But Mommy’s very kind, / So she eats all sorts of crazy stuff / And doesn’t seem to mind" and allays worries over morning sickness: " . . . if I had a house in me / I’d feel all yucky too." While Andreae fails to raise the specter of sibling jealousy or feelings of displacement, his uniformly upbeat attitude is a positive way to introduce the concept of a new addition to little ones. Cabban’s (Where There’s a Bear, There’s Trouble!, p. 1305, etc.) full-bleed, full-color illustrations on oversized pages deftly mirror the buoyant joyfulness of the tale. Vibrant background colors in deep tangerine and lemon yellow capture the eye and serve to convey an aura of exuberance. A sparkling celebration of a wondrous event. (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807578537
  • Publisher: Whitman, Albert & Company
  • Publication date: 10/28/2002
  • Series: Concept Book Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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