A Mother is a House by French author and illustrator Aurore Petit (translated by Daniel Hahn) poetically unfolds the role of a mother in a child’s life – from birth through the first year and learning to walk. The reader’s eye is drawn to the child in the centre of each beautifully-crafted page – with mother and father always within arm’s reach. We are invited into intimate scenes between mother and child, those which form lasting bonds and which also encourage the reader to make personal connections. As a mother myself, this book makes me think back to the early years of my own two boys and the shared experiences we had together in the world our family created. Petit’s dedication page ‘for Armand, J.-M. (two young boys pictured) and little Polo (a cat)’ gives the reader a glimpse into the assumed personal motivations for writing this work, drawing on her own experiences as a mother.
The bold splashes of colour bring this classic tale of motherhood into the present. The illustrations reflect the ordinary happenings of everyday life, with carefully-chosen vibrant colours and soft, curved lines that draw the reader into a sense of comfort and safety. The vibrancy of family life bursts from the pages, engaging both the eye and the heart. Petit’s style personally reminds me of the dynamic illustrations crafted by Junli Song in Cherry Moon (Weil, 2019)
This book would be a fantastic choice to add to children’s reading-at-home repertoire. There are many themes and ideas that will spark conversations and memories between child and parent as the book’s varied scenes reveal a window into the characters’ world.
A Mother is a House is a true celebration of motherhood and what it means to always have family close within your heart – a great choice to share and discuss with readers aged 2-6.
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