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When Mama Gets Home

When Mama Gets Home

by Marisabina Russo

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Mama is almost home from work! But first the young narrator and her sister and brother have a lot to do. They will set the table and peel the vegetables and get things ready. And when Mama does get home, they have so much to tell her about their day. But because she is Mama, she has time for each one of them. Marisabina Russo once again proves that her aim is true


Mama is almost home from work! But first the young narrator and her sister and brother have a lot to do. They will set the table and peel the vegetables and get things ready. And when Mama does get home, they have so much to tell her about their day. But because she is Mama, she has time for each one of them. Marisabina Russo once again proves that her aim is true when it comes to focusing on the likes, dislikes, and needs of young children.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Debra Briatico
After a long day, many children and parents look forward to spending their evening together as a family, discussing the day's events and sharing special moments. In this charming picture book, the young narrator describes what happens at her house when she and her two siblings get prepared for their mother's return from work-they set the table, peel the vegetables, and get ready for dinner. When Mama finally comes home, each child anxiously clamors for her attention. After quieting down the children, hanging up her coat, and preparing dinner, Mama invites everyone to sit down for a nice meal. During dinner, the children take turns describing the details of their busy days at school. After dinner, the narrator continues to describe the quality time she spends with her mother during bath time, story time, and discussion time. This book is perfect for children in families with one or two working parents. This story perfectly reflects the busy schedules of today's families and describes the importance of taking time out to share meaningful moments and create new, treasured memories.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 2A realistic glimpse into family life where children are often home before their parents. As a little girl eagerly waits for her mother to come home from work so she can tell her about her day, she helps her older sister and brother get ready for dinner. When Mama does arrive, she is bombarded with questions and comments from all three children, but laughingly puts them off until dinnertime. Finally, after her older sister talks about high school and her brother talks about his basketball team, it is the youngest child's turn. The story becomes even more realistic when viewed through the festive gouache paintings done in warm yellows, soft red, and bold green. The scene depicting the child talking to her mother is pricelessboth of her siblings are sitting at the table, staring off into space, completely bored. However, Mama has a smile on her face, and is patiently listening to her youngest daughter's long list of news, making her feel important. There are a lot of small details scattered throughout the pages, such as the many family photos that fill the apartment walls. They subtly show that although their father is not included, this is a loving and happy family.Lisa Gangemi Krapp, Sousa Elementary School, Port Washington, NY
Kirkus Reviews
The three children of a mother who works outside the home look forward to her return at the end of the day. Each sibling has a task: The older sister puts the chicken to roast; the brother, Walkman in his ears, peels carrots; and the youngest child, who narrates this gentle story, sets the table. Mama finally comes home with a smile and some hugs, changes her shoes, finishes dinner preparations, and sits down with her children for a meal and recap of the day's events. After dinner comes baths, a story, a phone call from a grandmother, bed, and sweet dreams. This is a lovely urban fairy tale for single working mothers: Mama is always smiling, leaves work at five o'clock and arrives home in 45 minutes. The children handle their chores like angels, without quarreling or crabbiness. No one does the dishes; no one sits down for some TV. The dreamy quality of the narrative is extended in flat gouache paintings in muted colors. Those with less perfect lives will still want to cast their eyes over this one, which takes for granted that the members of a family can pitch in and show their respect and love for one another in the small details of the day. (Picture book. 3-6)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
10.00(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.25(d)
270L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

From the time I could hold a pencil, I loved to draw. My mother was a single parent who worked full time, and my brothers were much older than I was. It seemed like I spent a lot of time alone. Drawing and, later, writing kept me company.

I was very shy. My mother was always introducing me to little girls who lived in our apartment building in Queens, New York. I became good friends with one girl named Roberta, whose mother was an artist. When they moved to a house a few blocks away, Roberta's mother set up a studio in the attic and gave art lessons. I went with them to sketch in the park. We took the subway into Manhattan to visit museums. I knew I wanted to be an artist.

In the sixth grade I read The Diary of Anne Frank and decided to keep a journal. I keep one to this day. In the seventh grade I started writing short stories. I had a wonderful English teacher, Miss Rothenberg, who encouraged me to write. My first published story appeared in the junior high school literary magazine.

While I dreamed of going to art school, my mother steered me to a liberal arts college, Mount Holyoke. Being a studio art major there was a bit outside the mainstream and, later, having a Mount Holyoke degree didn't open any doors when I began searching for work as an illustrator. But I did get a tremendous education, which serves me well every day of my life.

My early illustration jobs were for magazines, eventually for The New Yorker. I got my first book illustrating job (a cookbook) when I was pregnant with my first child. Other books followed, and two more children. It was only after my third baby was born that an illustrator friend arranged for me to meet Susan Hirschmanat Greenwillow. He had to really push me to make the appointment because I was pretty much consumed with motherhood (and exhausted!) The Line Up Book was my first picture book. My son Sam was obsessed with lining up objects all over our house, and that had been my inspiration.

The stories I write usually happen that way. My children say or do something that sticks in my mind. Or I remember something from my own childhood. I mull it over and over and expand it and come up with a story. The initial idea is usually the easy part, but giving it shape, rhythm, and a climax is much more difficult. Painting the pictures is the most fun of all.

There is no other job I would want. Every day when I sit down to work in my studio--which is a bedroom in my house--I feel very lucky and very happy.

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