“Choco was a little bird, who lived all alone. He wished he had a mother, but who could his mother be?” For anyone familiar with P.D. Eastman’s “Are You My Mother”, the opening of “A Mother for Choco” by Keiko Kasza may sound familiar, but Ms. Kasza’s book ends with a special twist.
Choco sets out one day to find his mother by looking for animals that share a physical characteristic with him. The mother giraffe is yellow like Choco, could she be his mother? No. The penguin has wings like Choco, and the walrus has big puffy cheeks like Choco – but neither one is Choco’s mother either. Feeling rejected and alone, Choco begins to cry. Thankfully Mrs. Bear happens to be nearby to hold him, kiss him, and cheer him up. She shares no physical characteristics with Choco, but she acts like a mommy – doing all the things Choco would have wanted his mother to do. The book ends with a big bear hug in the arms of Choco’s new mommy.
The book is not subtle, but by the same token the story is easy for little listeners to follow and the playful and colorful watercolor illustrations helped to keep the attention of our youngest throughout. We loved the message that it is not how a mommy looks but it is what she does that makes her a mommy, and there is a similar lesson here about family; I expect that this book would be great for families with adopted children. However, I also think it could be tremendously valuable for anyone wanting to build awareness that not all families look the same, or hoping to start a conversation about what a family is and what is important about family.
This book was recommended to us by a friend of mine at work after I mentioned our Storybook Year project to him. We have really appreciated all the suggestions we have received so far – and look forward to many more.