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Day 126 – The Best Gifts

For the week leading up to Mother’s Day, we selected several books that have to do with motherhood and childhood. Our first such selection, “The Best Gifts” by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch and illustrated by Elly MacKay, is a particularly moving tribute to motherhood and to family. With Ms. Skrypuch’s warm and comforting words, and Ms. MacKay’s dreamy dioramas decorating every page, the book reminds us of the importance of special moments and the power of well loved family mementos to bring memories of those moments back, and that “the best gifts cans never be bought.”gifts

The narrative of “The Best Gifts” traces a circle, following Sara and the key moments in her life – from breastfeeding with her mother as a baby to breastfeeding her own child. The book pauses for one of Sara’s birthdays, for college graduation, for Sara’s wedding, and finally for the birth of Sara’s own child. All along the way, there are celebrations and thoughtful gifts, but the very best gifts always come later…when Sara is “wrapped in love” at her mother’s breast, when she falls asleep to her father reading her a bed time story, or when she receives the wedding gift of an old photo album covered with fabric from her baby blanket.

There is some truly beautiful imagery at work in this book (e.g., mother’s milk swirling in Sara’s mouth, father’s words swirling in Sara’s head, a child feeling wrapped in love, and a light scent of sandalwood that later would bring back so many fond memories). Ms. MacKay’s unique style of illustration fits perfectly with the text. We all loved reading this book – all the more so because we are parents of two little girls. I can’t recommend this book enough; it is now a permanent part of our collection.

Side note: the edition we read was an updated version of the 1998 original – with new illustrations and some information on breastfeeding resources at the end.