Who’s Your Real Mom?
Author: Bernadette Green
Illustrator: Anna Zobel
Scribble, Melbourne Australia
Ages: 4 – 7 years old
Elvi, twinkle in her eye, begins to describe superhuman characteristics. Her mother, “can pull a car with her teeth . . . .”
Which one is the real mother/father? A question often asked of samesex couples and their children when they are out in public. Sometimes the question is meant to provoke embarrassment; sometimes the question comes from curiosity; sometimes the question comes from fear. Regardless of how it arises, it’s a question the couple, and their child(ren) inevitably face. Green’s book, Who’s Your Real Mom, posits the question innocently between friends at a playdate. The answer, is not so complicated. How Elvi, our protagonist gets there, well, that’s the story.
Nicholas, filled with the curiosity of a child, needs to know. So he asks, “who’s your real mom?” Elvi, starts off innocently enough and lists common traits that both her mothers share. Not satisfied with her responses, Nicholas presses further.
Elvi, twinkle in her eye, begins to describe superhuman characteristics. Her mother, “can pull a car with her teeth, is “a pirate in disguise,”sort[s] out gorilla disputes,” etc. Nicholas, catching on, asks again; and, the book resolves, sweetly–as you would expect; with Nicholas coming to a realization (albeit with gentle prodding).
Green imbues Elvi with the experience of having answered this question many, many times. Green’s writing, however, imbues Elvi with much more. It provides Elvi with immeasurable charm and grace, allowing the character to negotiate the situation and still maintain a childlike innocence. And, for a moment, through the wonderful illustrations provided by Zobel, we get to experience Elvi’s imaginings, through a dose of magical realism. After all, Elvi does make up all those things about her moms. Doesn’t she?
There are other books that tackle this subject matter. I have yet to see a better one.
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