Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Saturday, May 11, 2013


Richer than I you can never be -- 
 I had a Mother who read to me.
-Strickland Gillilan (1869-1954)

My Top 10, in no particular order:

"Marmee" from Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
Illustration by Jessie Wilcox Smith
"Money is a needful and precious thing--and when well used, a noble thing--but I never want you to think it is the first or only prize to strive for. I'd rather see you poor men's wives, if you were happy, beloved, contented, than queens on thrones, without self-respect and peace." 

Caroline Ingalls, "Ma", from the Little House books (Laura Ingalls Wilder)
Garth Williams, illustrator
Ma was trembling, and she began to laugh a little. “To think,” she said, “I’ve slapped a bear!”

Mrs. Darling, from Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie)
(Mrs. Darling was, after all an example to Wendy, who tried her best to be a Mother to the Lost Boys - telling them stories and making them take their medicine.)
Mrs. Darling first heard of Peter Pan when she was tidying up her children’s minds. It is the nightly custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you can’t) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it every interesting to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers. You would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your contents, wondering where on earth you picked this thing up, making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her cheek as if it were as nice as a kitten, and hurriedly stowing that out of sight. When you wake in the morning, the naughtiness and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out your prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on. 
-J.M. Barrie

The Mother Rabbit in The Runaway Bunny (Margaret Wise Brown)
Clement Hurd, illustrator
Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away. 
So he said to his mother, "I am running away". 
"If you run away", said his mother, "I will run after you. For you are my little bunny".

The Missing Mother Bird from Are You My Mother? (P. D. Eastman)
"I must get something for my baby bird to eat!" she said.  "I'll be back."
The egg jumped and jumped...out came the baby bird! 
"Where is my mother?" he said...
"You are not my mother!  You are a SNORT!" 
(The baby bird, to our great relief, is finally reunited with his mother by end of the story!)

The Inuit Mother in Mama, Do You Love Me? (Barbara Joosee)
Illustrated by Barbara Lavallee
"Mama, do you love me?"  
"Yes, I do, Dear One."  
"How much?"

The Brave Mother in Heckedy Peg (Audrey Wood)
Illustration by Don Wood
The mother kissed her children good-bye and said, "Be careful, and remember -- don't let a stranger in and don't touch the fire."
(This story is about seven children named Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; a witch who intrudes on the peace of their cottage; and a spell only the children's mother can break.)

Mrs.  Molly Weasley from the Harry Potter books (J. K. Rowling)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Howler: (from Mrs. Weasley) "RONALD WEASLEY! HOW DARE YOU STEAL THAT CAR? I AM ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTED! YOU'RE FATHER'S NOW FACING AN INQUIRY AT WORK, AND IT'S ENTIRELY YOUR FAULT! IF YOU PUT ANOTHER "TOE" OUT OF LINE, WE'LL BRING YOU STRAIGHT HOME! And Ginny, dear, congratulations on making it into Gryffindor. Your Father and I are so proud." [From Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets]
And of course, we have to give honorable mention to Lily Potter - Harry's Mother - even though she has already died in the books...
“Your mother died to save you. If there is one thing Voldemort cannot understand, it is love. Love as powerful as your mother's for you leaves it's own mark. To have been loved so deeply, even though the person who loved us is gone, will give us some protection forever.”
-Dumbledore [From Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone]

Mrs. Murry from A Wrinkle In Time (Madeleine L'Engle)
"No, Meg. Don't hope it was a dream. 
I don't understand it any more than you do, but one thing I've learned is that you don't have to understand things for them to be."

"Mama" from Mama's Bank Account by Kathryn Forbes
Forbes was a radio scriptwriter before she began writing short stories. Mama's Bank Account, her most well-known work, was published in 1943 and revolved around the daily struggles and aspirations of a Norwegian family living in San Francisco in the 1910s.
Mama looked at me.  
"Is no account”, she said. “In all my life, I never been inside a bank.” 
And when I didn’t – couldn’t answer, Mama said earnestly: “Is not good for little ones to be afraid – to not feel secure.”

"HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!" and thanks to all my Facebook followers who posted their favorite literary Moms.

Here are a few more that I had to give "honorable mention" to:  Charlotte the Spider, from Charlotte's Web (E.B.White); Mrs. Rabbit - Peter Rabbit's mother (Beatrix Potter); Little Bear's Mother (Else Holmelund Minarik); Mama from All-of-a-Kind-of-Family (Sydney Taylor); Frances the Badger's Mother (Russell Hoban); Mrs. Moody from the Little Britches series (Ralph Moody); Max's mother from Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak); Critter's mother (Mercer Mayer); Betsy, Tacy, and Tib's moms (Maud Hart Lovelace); Mrs. Hamley from Wives and Daughters (Elizabeth Gaskell); Dowager Duchess of Denver - Lord Peter Wimsey's mother (Dorothy Sayers); Aunt Betsy Trotwood, who adopts David Copperfield (Charles Dickens); and of course Marilla Cuthbert, who adopts Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery).

One more adoptive "Mother" - Horton the Elephant from Horton Hatches the Egg (Maysie is probably one of the worst literary mothers!) and Horton Hears a Who (Dr. Seuss).

What about Mother Goose?  Go here.


  1. Marmee and Ma Ingalls are also my favorite literary mothers! I remember the nights my sister and I would bring three to five books each to my mother to read to us before bed! Ever heard of "Otty and The Star"? That one was my favorite! I recently got my grandmother to purchase a signature Barnes and Noble edition of "Little Women" for me, and the lovely cover art is by Jessie Wilcox Smith. I was searching for more of her illustrastions for "Little Women" because the way she drew them is perfect and exactly how I've been seeing them in my head since I finally read the full novel last year. I say all that because one of her illustrations led me to your blog! This was a lovely Mother's Day tribute, thank you! Have a wonderful day!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Miryam - I totally agree with you about Jessie Wilcox Smith's art portraying Alcott's "Little Women" as I've always seen them in my mind! :)
      I've never heard of "Otty and the Star" - I'll have to look into it - thanks for the recommendation.