Review: A Gift for Mama April 16, 2014Posted by ccbooks in Book Reviews.
Oskar’s mother is having a birthday and he has a problem–how to find the perfect present? Although the streets of Vienna are filled with beautiful things, he only has one coin. He purchases a beautiful flower and thinks he has made a good choice, but then an artists comes a long and offers to trade him for a paintbrush. As Oskar walks through the streets, he keeps trading and trading, each time for something unique to Vienna–music, books, candy. Finally he has to make a choice–will he give away the present, in the end, to make someone else happy? And if he does, what will Mama get for her birthday?
Linda Ravin Lodding’s text is filled with rhythm and detail. The carriages in the street ‘clippety-clopped against the cobblestones,’ the artists offers ‘a beautiful horsehair brush’ and Oskar ‘waltzed down the street.’ Alison Jay’s illustrations are done in her trademark crackle-glazed style with bright colors perfect for springtime. Spot illustrations show Oskar’s thoughts about what he might give Mama, while full spreads detail the marvelous houses and shops of Vienna and the dramatic struggle of the Empress’ carriage stuck in the mud. In the end, Mama gets her gift, the sun goes down and Oskar is happy, so the reader must be too. This is the perfect book for a birthday, Mother’s Day or any day.