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A Gift for Mama Hardcover – March 25, 2014

4.9 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

K-Gr 2—In this lovely, circular story set in 19th-century Vienna, Oskar searches for the perfect gift for his mother, armed with a single coin. Each time he acquires a gift, starting with a perfect yellow rose, he meets someone who convinces him to trade it for something else. Finally, the day is over, and he is back where he started. In the concluding paragraph, Lodding states that most of the people Oskar meets are important figures from Viennese history-Gustav Klimt, Felix Salten, Johann Strauss II, and Empress Sisi-and that this is Vienna's story as well as Oskar's. The narrative is well written and satisfying to read aloud. Jay's crackle-glazed paintings are as dreamily beautiful as ever, masterfully composed, and full of interesting details. Unfortunately, in this case, the soft surrealism of her landscapes works against her revelation that the story is meant to be firmly rooted in the city's history. While the text and illustrations are wonderful in their own right, it is a shame that the historical connections really only exist in the author's note. Whether or not an opportunity was lost, this is a lovely and successful book about optimism, giving, and love. Purchase without hesitation.—Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN

From Booklist

The search for the perfect present is a tried-and-true storybook conceit, and it is given an enchanting twist in Lodding’s tale, as readers journey through old Vienna along with Oskar, meeting the artists, musicians, writers, and royalty who made the fin de siècle era unique. It all starts with the perfect present for Mama’s birthday: a yellow rose that young Oskar is persuaded to trade for a paintbrush. More trades follow, each seemingly more interesting until finally Oskar seems to wind up empty-handed after handing a forlorn girl his final treasure, a box of candied violets given to him by the empress herself. But wait—truly what goes around comes around when the little girl hands him the rose she was wearing in her hair. Jay’s illustrations feature the warmly aged, crackled surface of an ancient painting and the kindly ovoid bodies that have become her trademark. As an introduction to a special time and place, Lodding’s unique offering will prove a treat for sensitive, imaginative readers. Grades K-2. --Karen Cruze
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (March 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385753314
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385753319
  • Product Dimensions: 10.1 x 0.4 x 11.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #691,237 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A wonderful book, which totally engrossed my four-year-old grandson, his mother, and me as well! Probably not as well understood for most children under the age of four and some of the language which my daughter and I found to be so euphonious had to be explained to my four-year old grandson. But, the pictures are lovely, the text is touching, and the message makes a listener of any age smile. I highly recommend this book to everyone. If your child is under four....buy the book and save it for later. This one's a complete keeper.
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Format: Hardcover
In A GIFT FOR MAMA a kind young boy searches the streets of Vienna for the perfect birthday gift for his mother. When he sees a gorgeous yellow rose, he knows he has found the perfect gift for his mother, but a series of chance meetings cause the boy to trade away the rose and each gift he chooses to those in greater need. A beautifully illustrated read aloud story with lessons of kindness and love, A GIFT FOR MAMA is sure to enchant.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book IS a gift. A treasure, really. It's one of those rare picture books that perfectly captures the innocence, sweetness, and longings of a child... and, at the same time, is packaged in a tightly-written and wonderful story that is also beautifully illustrated. I loved this book! My 10-year old son, who still loves picture books (much like HIS mama) also loved it. And, trust me, he is picky! He reads 10-20 picture books a week and rarely likes more than one or two of them. I'd highly recommend A Gift for Mama AS a gift-- Mother's Day is coming up and even though this is a picture book, I think any mama would treasure it!
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Format: Hardcover
A lovely book for kids, and their parents. Fantastic illustrations and a story that kept my sons asking for it to be read again and again. As a bonus, if you have spent any time in Vienna, this book brings back the sights and memories of a place that has changed remarkably little over the decades.
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Format: Hardcover
Such a well written picture book with a great moral to the story set in the ancient city of Vienna.
Poor Oskar has no money to buy a gift for his Mother, so goes on a search for something to give her. He gets a yellow rose, which he continues to trade up, until he gets the perfect gift for his Mom.
Enduring tale, perfect for any mother-child reading experience. It might even give kids ideas of what they "could" give their Mothers as gifts instead of the typical macaroni sculptures.
The art draws you into the story, with the cool crackle effect of the old Masters.
Great book that shows the love of a child for his Mother!
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Format: Hardcover
I have 4 grand daughters, two of whom had recent birthdays, and Linda's book was terrific. We were able to talk about an "old town" in Europe, listen to some music (waltzes mostly but they are young and love to dance - Mozart will wait), and talk about good things. The book not only allows for that, it seems to encourage some very healthy day dreaming.

I've know Linda for years and years. She is certainly one of the brightest bulbs on any tree and her obvious ability to talk to kids just shines through.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've received around 40 kg of books last month and this one I was waiting for the most! It exceeded my expectations. The style of Alison Jay drawing is unique, the story is so beatiful. Its a perfect book for a mother!
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