Reviews for Me and Mama

by Cozbi A. Cabrera

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In the early morning, a young unnamed Black girl tiptoes through the house and past various sleeping family members, to be greeted by the smell of cinnamon and her mother's good-morning song. Even though the day is rainy, it's a wonderful time to "be everywhere Mama is." Throughout her day, the child makes clever observations about the similarities and differences between herself and her mother. While she has less toothpaste on her toothbrush, both she and Mama know to brush "round my teeth with little circles." As they prepare to go outside to take a nature walk, it's noted that "Mama's rain boots are / bigger than mine. / And they're red" -- however, both pairs make an excellent splash in puddles. The girl is also keen to acknowledge how she and her mother care for each other -- after her hair is combed, she returns the favor, accentuating her mom's thick curls with "the purply pink barrette...She calls it fuchsia." At the end of her day ("Our day is done earlier than / Mama and Papa's / It's just that way when you're growing"), mother and daughter read stories to each other. Drifting off to sleep, the young girl is content to dream, knowing "there'll be me and Mama." Celebrating the beautiful dark brown skin of the duo, and surrounded by various hues of blue, Cabrera's color-saturated illustrations, a mix of single pages and double-page spreads, add to the gentle charm of the conversational text. Large and small pairs of everyday objects appear on the endpapers, bolstering the celebration of the mother/daughter relationship. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Told from a first-person point of view, this quietly engaging picture book unfolds on a rainy morning, with a Black girl who “want to/ be everywhere Mama is.” Waking up before Papa and younger sibling Luca, the girl narrates aspects of the mother and daughter’s morning routine (“A shower is warm rain that gets you going”), comparing their respective cups and toothbrushes, oatmeal with toppings, and rain boots. Sensory details, fittingly tangential childlike observations, and familial dialogue make the narrative feel immediate and genuine (“I don’t like the bumblebee barrette, I say..../ She knows I mean just today”). Cabrera’s striking acrylic visuals recall painters such as Jordan Casteel and Maira Kalman. While a few of the girl’s lines feel nebulously philosophical (“Some things don’t let go. But for what?/ The stores are boxes filled with people”), the narrative offers an elegant testament to the love-filled bonds between child and parent. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

A little girl shares a joy-filled rainy day with Mama. Mother-daughter pairings of swimsuits, flower bouquets, and bicycles are presented in small, bright vignettes on the endpapers of Cabrera’s cozy tale, serving as appetizers for the visual feast within. Impressively detailed scenes, from the first spread, which shows the child coming downstairs, to her mama’s artfully designed workspace to a later scene of the little girl drifting off to sleep haloed by stars and dreaming of day with her mother, are rendered with visible daubs of acrylic paint. They are complemented by alternating scenes of single objects, such as Mama’s teacup beside her daughter’s sippy cup, set against pastel backgrounds showing the strengthening of their bond through the daily actions mother and daughter share. Though much of the text is uneven in rhythm with no consistent movement to usher readers from page to page, it contains gems, such as a description of the vegetation on the sidewalk, “in the in-between. / It’s moss, Mama says. / It’s velvet, I say.” Still, the greatest delight is in the images that vibrantly showcase their simple, loving connection. In the book, the mother, daughter and, later, brother Luca all have gorgeous, varied hues of brown skin, with textured hair that is plaited, coily, and afro-puffed. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 48.3% of actual size.) A beautifully illustrated, slice-of-life ode of adoration for doting daughters and marvelous mamas. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Lush acrylic hues of color wash every double-page spread while spare text describes the tender feelings a small Black child with curly, high-bunched pigtails has for her beautiful mother. Simple words express the little one’s emotions as she eagerly wakes up in the morning to enjoy their daily activities together. Throughout the pages there are comparisons between Mama’s and daughter’s familiar objects: Mama’s cup (big) and mine (little); Mama’s toothbrush and mine (“I get less toothpaste”); Mama’s boots (tall and red) and mine (short and yellow). Raining? “The perfect day for boots and puddles,” says Mama, with joyous depictions of the two singing and splashing in the wet outdoors as silvery drops fall. After a good day, there are pajamas, giggles, hugs, and kisses before bedtime. A gorgeous blue blackness envelops the girl's thoughts as she spins some pictures of her day with Mama and dreams of another tomorrow. Endpapers identify the 15 items, both large and small, that are shown in the story. A warm tribute to a special family relationship and comforting home.

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

PreS-Gr 2—A young Black girl enjoys a rainy day alone with her mother, savoring each ordinary moment for the joyful expression of love it represents. From combing their hair to a song-filled walk under cloudy skies, every part of the day is cherished because it is spent together. Mama is as bright as the sun and daughter orbits around her, basking in the glow of her kindness and understanding. Told from the daughter's perspective, the simple yet lyrical prose shines with trust and pride in the bond the two share. The muted color palette and painterly style of the art evoke a cozy sense of security. While realistically portrayed, each image has a soft, dreamlike quality that also highlights the timelessness of the story. VERDICT A strong portrait of familial connection, this title captures the essence of unconditional love between parent and child, and is recommended for all picture book collections.—Sophie Kenney, Aurora P.L., IL