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Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry Hardcover – September 29, 2003
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From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3-When Annie wakes up in the morning, her mother is making pancakes and cheerily asking, "Who wants hot, golden circles?" The woman proclaims the breakfast "yummalicious" and Annie's purple dress, "Beautastic." But when the little girl returns home from school, her mother greets her by shouting, "STOP ALL THAT SCREAMING-GET IN THIS HOUSE NOW!" An author's note explains that this is how life can be for a child living with a mentally ill parent. When Annie's mother gets upset, the girl knows that she should call her grandmother, who reassures her and reminds her that her mother loves her, even when she's yelling. The child has the option of going to a neighbor's house and waiting for her grandmother to come for her. In spite of these safety valves, she deals with the situation on her own-getting a snack, snuggling with her teddy bear, and going to bed. Annie realizes that she can't stop the dark clouds inside her mother, but that she can find sunshine in her own mind. Lewis makes excellent use of light and shadow in his watercolors, evoking both the sunny glow of a happy kitchen and the foreboding gloom of a dark porch with equal skill. The multicultural cast is depicted with realistic sensitivity. The author's goal is to offer children resilience by introducing coping strategies and helping them to understand that they are not to blame for their parents' difficulties. A skillful treatment of a troubling subject.
Anna DeWind Walls, Milwaukee Public Library
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
PreS-Gr. 2. True to a child's viewpoint, this moving picture book tells of an African American girl living with a mother who is mentally ill. The spare first-person narrative and exquisite realistic watercolor paintings show the child at home with her unpredictable parent, who is manic and cheerful in the morning, then angry, depressed, and paranoid when the child returns from school. Annie has fun with her friends and enjoys school, but her insecurity about her mother is always there. When Mommy yells, Annie calls Grandma, who assures her that it isn't her fault and helps her through the evening. A long introductory note to adults talks about bipolar disorder and the supportive role community can play. The story will prompt discussion among children because it's honest about how hard it is when a child must act as parent, and about how friends can help. The quiet, intimate last picture shows loving Mommy the next day as she braids Annie's hair. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Overall, this book is very good for a lead-in to this issue for young children. However, do your homework before reading the story aloud as it lacks even a simple definition of bipolar or any guidance for a discussion afterwards.