Friday, July 9, 2004
Big Momma Makes the World
Root, Phyllis. 2003. BIG MOMMA MAKES THE WORLD. Ill. by Helen Oxenbury. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press. ISBN 0763611328 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-2]
SUMMARY and ANALYSIS
For a fun twist of the creation myth, Root has given us Big Momma. As mommas are known for their ability to handle everything at once, such as a baby on one hip and the dirty dishes piling up, Big Momma decides it is time to make a world to live in. And when Big Momma says to do something, “something” gets done. From lightness and darkness to crawling critters and friendly neighbors, Big Momma thinks of everything. She’s even efficient enough to finish it all off in one “Big Bang”. Each night, she takes a moment to reflect on the day’s accomplishments, looks down at that little baby of hers, and says, “That’s good. That’s real good.”
Root endears her readers to Big Momma through the familiarity of the love between mother and child, also applying it, in this case, to the love of a creator for her creation. Oxenbury’s paintings dramatize the depth of this story to its fullest potential. In the beginning, although the work is vibrant, she uses monochromatics to emphasize the newness of everything. Then, as the days progress, and more and more features are added to the new world, a full rainbow of color marks Big Momma’s accomplishments. In the end, all is well, and Big Momma has given her baby the ultimate gift – the entire world.
This book would be an excellent inclusion in a study of the wide variety of creation stories found in different cultures all around the world. It opens up for discussion the aspect of interpretation and symbolism.
Younger children, especially, will be full of questions after listening to this book. Use the opportunity to encourage dialogue about personal beliefs, comparing and contrasting this version with the child’s own.
Other picture books about Creation:
Johnson, James Weldon. THE CREATION. ISBN 0823410692
Lester, Julius. WHAT A TRULY COOL WORLD. ISBN 0590864688
Another biblically based story by Phyllis Root:
ALL FOR THE NEWBORN BABY. ISBN 0763600938
By Amy D. Picard