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Mama Is a Miner Hardcover – September, 1994


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 and up
  • Hardcover: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Orchard Books; First Printing edition (September 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0531068536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0531068533
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 9.2 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,166,751 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"When I'm settled on Bus 34 / Mama's crowded into a low car / cap light off, dozing, swaying / headed for Black Mountain's heart," says the narrator, who describes in detail her mother's job as a coal miner. Unfortunately, the warmth and originality of this family story are undermined by a needlessly complicated format and structure. Lyon poetically juxtaposes informative sections about mining with the story of the mother "digging for home"; but, in a voice detached from the rest of the fact-filled narrative, she interjects bewildering, if colorful, quatrains (" Firedamp, blackdamp, / Fire Boss checks the air / Bad top, kettle bottom: / don't go there "). Catalanotto (Lyon's collaborator on Cecil's Story and Who Came Down That Road? ) alternates affectionate portraits of the family above ground with dark scenes of the "miles deep" mine, but the relation of his superb watercolors to the text is not always clear. Underneath a painting of a tea kettle on a kitchen stove, for example, the text reads, " Screak and ring, rail wheels sing. / Back into black. Battery pack. " An interesting miss. Ages 5-8.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 3-A child is drawing and thinking at the kitchen table as her mother prepares the evening meal. The room is warm, and light is all around them-in the windows, on the toaster, stovetop, teapot, and calendar. The reflections are identical to those made by her mother's head lamp that she wears deep in the dark earth. The woman is a miner. Lyon's prose is rhythmic, authentic, and strong, using the first-person narrative of a child effectively. The result is a picture of a young girl who is at once proud, awed, and worried about her mother. Dialogue is spare but significant, consisting mainly of Mama's oft-repeated phrases: "Hard work for hard times" and "I'm digging for home." The satisfying ending shows the child inside a light-flooded mountain made of blankets, revealing what she has been drawing all evening: a picture of her mother in work gear. Visually, the book is breathtaking, intertwining elements from the mine and home, child and parent, family chores and work for money. Mama brings light-into the mine and into the home-and Catalanotto's full-page, luminous watercolor illustrations vibrate with this energy. Muted shapes, soft edges, creative perspectives, and blending of scenes all come together to enhance the story of a youngster's complicated thoughts and emotions. This book packs a lot into its 32 pages and is far more than a simple "I'm so proud of my Mama" career-exploration story.
Lee Bock, Brown County Public Libraries, Green Bay, WI
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

George Ella Lyon has published award-winning books for readers of all ages, and her poem, "Where I'm From," has been used as a model by teachers around the world. Recent titles include She Let Herself Go (poems) and the following picture books: "Which Side Are You On?" The Story of a Song, and All the Water in the World (both CCBC Choices), The Pirate of Kindergarten (Schneider Award) and You and Me and Home Sweet Home (Jane Addams Honor). Originally from the mountains of Kentucky, Lyon works as a freelance writer and teacher based in Lexington, where she lives with her husband, writer and musician Steve Lyon. They have two grown sons.

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