December 10, 2011
A Tale of Two Mommies
A Tale of Two Mommies
By: Vanita Oelschlager
Illustrations by: Mike Blanc
Vanita Books (2011).
SUMMARY: A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager is just that. Basing some of the story line off of the illustrations only, the book appears to be about a boy whose two mothers took him to the beach. The tale starts off by him socializing with two other children, one a girl and one a boy. The children, who we can assume are either his friends or random playmates he found at the beach, begin to ask him numerous questions regarding his two mommies and who is in charge of doing what- the main character then responds with the appropriate answer. For example :
“Who’s your mom for climbing a tree? Who’s your mom when you scrape your knee? Momma helps me climb a tree. Both moms help me when I skin my knee. Who empties your pockets at the end of the day? Who teaches you what’s the polite thing to say? I empty my own pockets at the end of the day. Both moms know what’s the polite thing to say.”
The book also highlights the difference between which mom is which by referring to one as Momma, and one as Mommy. The different forms of pro-nouns are also printed in a red, italicized font. The question and answer continues in this format throughout the entire book.
MY REVIEW: Reading this book was exciting at first, but after the first few pages of the same general outline, it became incredibly boring. However, just because it did not hold my interest does not mean it will not hold the interest of, say, seven year old. Even I must admit, it was interesting to try and predict which mom would complete a certain task. This is because you cannot. The author has done a job well done in regards to shattering the common stereotype that if two females are together, one of them has to take on the masculine role. In other words, at least one person from the partnership must be what society deems as “butch.” However, this book does not portray that. Mommy is the one who coaches the softball team, and Momma is the one who helps the main character climb a tree. I also believe that the way the illustrator set up the pictures helps readers focus more on the fact a family is a family, and at the end of the day Mommy and Momma love their son rather than determining what stereotypical role each woman plays. The illustrations containing Momma and Mommy only show the lower halves of their bodies. There are only a few instances where the book goes above waist level, and in those instances, both of their bodies are being covered by books or there is a close up of their hands. The hands symbolize unity and show how both mothers help when their son is really in need, something any parent would do regardless whether it is a mother, a father, an aunt, a grandfather, etc. Overall, I think this book is a good way to show that a blended family does all of the same things and has the same amount of love to spread as the stereotypical American family. While I do not for see myself using this entire book in my future classroom simply because of the redundancy and length, I enjoy the idea of taking excerpts from it and using those since I do believe the story teaches a valuable lesson.