[Book Review] A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager


A Tale of Two Mommies by Vanita Oelschlager (author); Mike Blanc (illustrator) • VanitaBooks, LLC • 2014 •  24 pages

Blurb
(from GoodReads): A Tale of Two Mommies is a beach conversation among three children. One boy asks another boy about having two mommies. A young girl listening in asks some questions too. True to a child’s curiosity, practical questions follow. “Which mom is there when you want to go fishing? / Which mom helps out when Kitty goes missing?” To which he answers: “Mommy helps when I want to go fishing. / Both Mommies help when Kitty goes missing.”

Genre/Themes: Parenting, Children, Different Types of Families, Adoption, Important Issues/Current Topics, Children being AWESOME, Intended for young children (4 to 8 yr olds), Family Bonds, Child’s Curiosity

Got My Copy: ARC From NetGalley

Rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

Review & Evaluation:
Illustrations: 4.5
Plot/Concept: 5
Delivery: 3.5 or 4
Message: 5 (although I’m inclined to give this a 3 or even 2 instead. See my review for why…)

Thoughts?

This book was a little weird for me, especially since I read Two Daddies first and absolutely LOVED that one. I was really hoping that there wouldn’t be stereotyping and/or gender profiling while reading both of these books, and… in one case, I was pleasantly surprised! In the other… not so much. :/

This was the “not so much” case.

I have to give it props for the incredible and engaging art, delivery, and overall concept and idea. Those things matched the kudos I gave Two Daddies well enough. But the actual message… seemed to get really lost in this one, and I can’t understand why. It’s EXACTLY the same format as the other one, yet the actual message coming across was… kind of ridiculous.

The biggest issue I think I had with it was that it seemed the responsibility of the two moms wasn’t very equal or evenly distributed at all… And with one of them (Momma), seemed almost non-existent! It was like she did NOTHING AT ALL. “Mommy,” on the other hand, was the proverbial super-mom! who could do anything and DID do everything, because obviously Momma couldn’t be bothered! (Okay… so maybe that might have been a bit harsh and wasn’t really implied in the story, but…! You kinda get that feeling… y’know?)

It just wasn’t working for me. I can understand if the idea is that she (Mommy) is a stay at home mom or something, while the other mom (Momma) is the main provider for the family or works outside the home, etc. which is why she wouldn’t be around as much to help with their son. But it still doesn’t seem very… positive – as the message of these books are supposed to be. My own parents were in a similar situation (where one was at home all the time and the other worked 6 days a week), and I assure you that my working parent still did A LOT more for me and participated a heck of a lot more in my life than what apparently Momma does for her son in this book.

And that’s a real shame. :/ Otherwise, I think I would have given this book a big thumbs up, because I was honestly hoping for awesomeness x2 after reading the incredible job done with Two Daddies! But because the message seems a bit muddled (and I was even backed up on this observation by others who had read ARCs of it) I just can’t say I’d recommend this book to anyone. Sorry. :/

Placing the likes and dislikes section AFTER my thoughts because… well, these are my original notes jotted down and are even a bit rrepetitive so you don’t have to read them if you don’t wanna XD

Likes:

– This is my third of Oelschlager’s books – the first being Eye To Eye, and the second A Tale of Two Daddies. Out of them all, this would be my second favorite (even if it doesn’t get the high ratings of the other two). Somehow, this story didn’t work out as nicely as the other one did. But I’ll say this much – I absolutely LOVE how the child(ren) asking the questions immediately know there are cat(s) in the home of the little boy. XD
– On a not so stereotypical point, it was nice to see the child of two moms as a POC and enjoying playtime with other children regardless of color of skin or ethnicity. That was real awesome to see. 🙂
– Um… What else? Um… Oh! My favorite page! Entirely unique to this book, as it was. It was about halfway in when the boy and his two friends are playing underwater and the friends ask him a question which has to be translated because all that’s heard above water is “BLUP BLUP BLUP?” XD Priceless.
– Also, the style of the artwork is very similar and yet different to Two Daddies, but I think would appeal to children of all genders. I get the impression it was meant to be more suited for boys than for girls, but like I said, it would work well for either.

Dislikes:

– I feel like in this one the responsibility of the child is almost solely dependent on one of the moms only. “Mommy” to be specific. “Momma” does nothing. Like maybe she’s there when the kid has a bad dream and can make scary faces when they go camping… but I swear that’s all she’s good for. What the hell?! XD
– It was cute, but I feel like it fell a little short of the mark, especially after having read Two Daddies, and seeing how well this sort of story can work there. There seemed to be more of a stereotypical approach and nature to this book, which is why I would have given it a 2 or 3 for delivery.

Would you recommend this book?:

I’d say if I had to choose, I’d go with the Two Daddies one instead since the message in that book isn’t as muddled, but I suppose there’s room for discussion in this book too. Not sure I’d actually want to buy this one or get it for anyone as a gift though… If you want to compare and contrast, then go for it! If not… then… well. Yeah. :/

 

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