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Are You My Mother? (Beginner Books(R)) Library Binding – June 12, 1966
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Bottom line: if you want to enjoy "Are You My Mother?" go and buy the "complete" hardcover edition. If you need something sturdy that your child is going to teethe on, buy a Zwiekback biscuit.
Long before I realized that babies are little sponges, someone gave me this book for my then first-born one year old (1968! ) Since then, this book has been a staple for all my children, the youngest now 8.
I have read to each child, before they were one - only one isn't as fond of reading as the others, but even he enjoys a good book now and again.
This book is the perfect book to introduce little ones to the joys of reading. The words are few and small, and the question is one of interest to little ones who are still trying to sort out what is going on in this new-to-them world.
The little bird falls from her nest while mother bird is out getting worms. She (or he) goes to every animal she sees and asks, "Are you my mommy?"
This simple story keeps the child's interest, because the little ones are concerned about what happens if they separate from a parent or caregiver.
In the end, of course (I doubt that this is giving away the story!) the bird finds the mother and all is right.
If you want your children or grandchildren to enjoy reading, this book is an excellent start. Expect to have to read it over and over, so well that you both will have it memorized!
"Are You My Mother" was the book my son never tired of. All through his early toddler years, it was his bedtime favorite, his naptime favorite, a comfort when he was tearful, and his best friend. How many times did he curl up on my lap with his blankie and his thumb while I rocked him and read this book?
The "plot" concerns a baby bird who hatches while the mother bird is out of the nest. Baby sets out to find his mother, and asks everything and everyone he sees, "Are You My Mother?" The "Snort" reference comes when the baby bird asks a huge piece of digging equipment, and..."The big thing just said SNORT!" This is what my son waited for throughout the book...he laughed every single time. And still does.
In the end, the birdie finds his mommy. The perfect, secure ending for a small child who wants reassurance before bed, or any time. This book is a classic. My son still has it, and I know he will read it to his own children some day. I hope I am there to see it.
To help other parents apply this advice, as a parent of four I consulted an expert, our youngest child, and asked her to share with me her favorite books that were read to her as a young child. Are You My Mother? was one of her picks.
This is a wonderful beginning reader because the story is humorous, the drawings lighten the mood further, and the words are simple and well related to the illustrations. For example, on one page a baby bird is pictured on the edge of the nest alone looking straight up expectantly. The text reads, "He looked up. He did not see her." The next page is the same baby bird still perched on the edge of the nest looking down. the text reads, "He looked down. He did not see her."
The use of repetition is also excellent. The cover question, for example, repeats throughout the book. So your child can learn to read the book with a minimum number of words to learn, and most of the words are illustrated to provide visual clues.
Most children learn to read a book like this by first memorizing it, then reading along with the parent as the parent says the words, then reciting the words, then picking out some words and reading more slowly. Are You My Mother? is well designed for this process.
The story involves a baby bird whose mother has gone off to get food so he is born alone. He looks around for her, tries to find her and falls out of the nest. Then he asks everyone and everything he meets if they are his mother. The question is very silly to a child. Your child knows that an airplane and a steam shovel cannot be a bird's mother, and your child will want to shout "no" and laugh in answer to the question. Everything ends up just fine with the baby bird reunited by the steam shovel just as the mother bird returns to the nest. The baby bird had walked near the mother earlier and had not seen her.
You may be concerned that the story can create insecurity in a child. And that is possible if you do not use the story as an opportunity to discuss when you would be away from your child. Obviously, your child knows who her or his mother is. You can talk about staying with other family members or baby sitters, and how you can be reached by telephone in those circumstances. Most children do worry about such subjects related to separation but often do not raise their concerns with parents. This book provides a natural way to address the subject in an unthreatening way.
After you have read this book, also think about what other insecurities your child may have and how you might discuss those to reduce potential anxiety.