Sonderbooks Book Review of

In Our Mothers' House

by Patricia Polacco

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In Our Mothers' House

by Patricia Polacco

Review posted September 8, 2013.
Philomel Books, 2009. 48 pages.

This is a warm and wonderful book about a nontraditional family. The point isn’t that the family has two mothers. The point is that they have a lot of love.

Told from the perspective of the first adopted child, we hear about all the loving times in their big house, which hosts family gatherings and block parties and neighborhood festivals. The family has a black girl, an oriental boy and a red-haired Irish child, so they are diverse in more ways than one.

Patricia Polacco is a good storyteller, and she makes a story of this family. There’s lots of hugging in all the pictures, and people of all ages having fun.

There is one exception. The one person on the block who doesn’t like them (It doesn’t specify why, except that she says, “I don’t appreciate what you two are.”), Mrs. Lockner, is on the cartoonish side. But mostly it’s about family togetherness, complete with cooking, costumes, parties, special events. Patricia Polacco manages to tell these retrospective stories without stepping too far on the side of sentimentality.

Your kids will meet families like this. I appreciate that the book never makes a big deal about there being two mothers or mixed races in this family. It just tells about two marvelous people and the loving household they built.