When Mama Goes to Work


When Mama goes to work, she wears her working clothes.
She combs her hair,
She packs a lunch,
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When Mama goes to work, she wears her working clothes.
She combs her hair,
She packs a lunch,
She takes her special bag.
When Mama goes to work, I wear my playing clothes.
I comb my hair,
I pack a lunch,
I take my special bag.
When Mama Goes to Work follows several children and their working mothers as they move through their day. From morning to night, through the daily activities of work and play, children and parents keep each other in their thoughts even when they are apart.
Both children and parents will relate to the routine of work and play in When Mama Goes to Work. Secure in the knowledge that their mothers will return at the end of the day, confident children enjoy themselves and concentrate on learning and play while looking forward to being reunited with their mothers, when they will discuss their day, help with dinner, and other evening routines.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The mothers in this sunny primer all work outside the home (one is a construction worker, another a medical professional, and two more in an office). Skrypuch’s declarative phrases are written in the voices of the mothers’ children, as they confidently express their independence: “When Mama goes to work,/ I’m busy all day long./ I work with tools/ and get things done.” First-time illustrator Phillips’s artwork features an ethnically diverse cast of cartoon families and understated suburban surroundings that, despite a somewhat generic quality, should draw in the targeted preschool-age audience. Ages 3–up. Author’s agency: the Cooke Agency. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
PreS—Four young children comment in alternating scenarios on the workdays of their mothers and their own parallel activities. "When Mama goes to work,/she wears her working clothes./She packs my lunch./She combs her hair./She takes her special bag." On the facing pages, a mother in medical garb and a little girl slip a love note and a toy spider into each other's lunch container as midday surprises. On the following page a different family appears, and a little boy and his toddler sister go off to day care with a mother in business garb. The third mother drives a construction vehicle ("She works with tools and gets things done"). Mothers and children miss one another during the day, but all keep happily busy. At day's end, they go home or to do errands for pleasant times together. In a cozy finish, all four children are shown fast asleep in a quadrant view. The simple art features flat figures done in colored outlines. Awkward choices in the depictions of characters' mouths sometimes give them an odd appearance. While the overall tone is cheerful and inclusive, the alternating mother/child scheme can be confusing. The theme of loving relationships between young children and working mothers is likely a useful choice for nursery school classes.—Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston
Kirkus Reviews
Various mothers and children have parallel experiences throughout their days. Skrypuch treads familiar ground—separation anxiety is a major aspect of childhood development. But this tale isn't full of tantrums or tears; instead, the kids in these families are shining examples of confidence and security. When one mother/child pair is separated, and a slight worry creeps in, the boy, bedecked in red-rimmed glasses, explains, "When Mama goes to work, / I know she misses me. / But she talks with friends / and thinks of me. / She knows that she'll be back." Likewise, he talks with his friends and thinks of his mother at the same time. Another girl hides a surprise in her mom's lunch; her mom does the same for her. At noon, they both think of each other. The repetitious nature and parallel storytelling structure of each mother and child's experiences can seem plodding, but it will likely be comforting to young worriers. Skrypuch follows only four families, but the variety of ethnicities and careers included is commendable, though it's a darn shame that in 2014, the narrative focus is still exclusively on mothers. Sunny, cartoonlike illustrations add to the cheer (disregard the slightly creepy toothy smiles of some). Spare in both text and art, earnest in heart, limited in scope. (Picture book. 2-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781554553143
  • Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, Limited
  • Publication date: 3/15/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,496,704
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch's first young adult novel, The Hunger, was released to critical acclaim in 1999. She is also the author of several picture books including Enough and The Best Gifts. Marsha lives with her family in Brantford, Ontario.

Jessica Phillips is an illustrator, runner, cat owner, yogi, blog reader, vegetarian, and amateur knitter from Calgary, Alberta, where I attended the Alberta College of Art and Design. When Mama Goes to Work is her first children's picture book.

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