My Must-Have Mom

Lantana. Mar. 2022. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781913747718.
K-Gr 2–Told in the first-person, this is a story about a young boy, Jake, concerned that his mother’s tendencies might relate to him in a worrisome way. She’s a trash-to-treasure fanatic, who can improve upon every torn, rusted, or broken object they collect. Could this mean that she wants to change him, too? Is he deficient in the same way as the discarded things? Unfortunately, Smith doesn’t sufficiently expand the narrative to connect the dots between the mom’s hobby and the boy’s anxiety. The lively illustrations depict diverse characters, with the boy and his mom both presenting as dark-skinned, and while it is not consequential to the story itself, the mother uses a wheelchair. The parental reassurance at the end is a sweet touch, though the child’s misunderstanding is not clear enough to make the ending satisfying.
VERDICT This book succeeds more on the theme of recycling than the intended social-emotional learning.

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