47°F
weather icon Light Rain

Make time for tall tales with ‘Mama Loved to Worry’

Your Mama is really tall.

She can reach the cabinets where the cookies are stored. She can touch the upper shelf of your closet and the tippy-top of your bedroom door. Her arms can reach things that you never could. Your Mom is probably at least 5 feet tall — that’s huge, isn’t it? — and in “Mama Loved to Worry” by Maryann Weidt, illustrated by Rachael Balsaitis, this story is even taller!

Mama was a first-class, top-rate worrier. She was so good at it; she won awards — and when you think about it, she had reason to worry. She had the whole farm to take care of — the cows, the pigs, the chickens — and Baby Eli, who seemed to be into everything, every minute of the day.

One afternoon, while she was in the garden, Mama worried about a tornado. A twister like that, well, it could carry the farm off! She worried and worried — and when Mama worries, she knits. That day, she knitted enough woolies for the pigs, chickens and cows to wear — and when a tornado actually did “tumble tail over teakettle” toward the farm, she grabbed Baby Eli and ran. That Eli, he was always into everything.

Another day soon afterward, Mama started to worry about how truly hot it was. What if Crooked Neck Creek dried up? What would happen then? She worried and worried — and when Mama worries, she sews “faster than a hound dog after a squirrel.” On that day, she sewed clothes for all the aunts, uncles and cousins, and she worked up a sweat. There was no more need to worry about the creek — but where was Baby Eli?

It was even hotter the next day, and Mama started to worry about all that heat. It could’ve popped the corn in the fields! She worried and worried — and when Mama worries, she makes sauerkraut, strudel and snickerdoodle twists. When the corn started popping in the field and the sugar cane melted, it smelled so good. But where was Baby Eli now?

Just as suddenly, where was Mama? Was it time to worry about her, too?

Paul Bunyan. Slue-Foot Sue. Pecos Bill. You remember them fondly as characters in those wildly fun tall tales you heard in grade school … and now Mama joins them in “Mama Loved to Worry.”

There isn’t a kid in the world who doesn’t love exaggeration in a story, and Weidt gives it with this rib-tickler that gets taller and taller as the tale goes on. The language in this book will really make you grin, but what’s even better are the illustrations by Balsaitis. She gives this book a home-spun feel of a gentler time when laundry hung outside to dry, the waterin’ hole was a right-fine place to swim, and summer never ended.

This book is a knee-slappin’, leg-pullin’ passel of fun for 5- to 8-year-olds or anybody who knows how to spin a tale a mile high. And if that’s either of you, then “Mama Loved to Worry” could be huge.

View publishes Terri Schlichenmeyer’s reviews of books for children weekly.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Former homeless Las Vegas teen spotlights ongoing issue

“I consider myself lucky because I had a backpack,” he said at a TED Talk in June in Traverse City, Michigan. “And because along the way I found some of the most beautiful, compassionate and courageous people that not only helped me through this time but who have left a lasting impression stamped on my heart.”

Robert Hoge’s memoir ‘Ugly’ is beautiful

You’re having a bad hair day. You feel fat in those jeans. And you’ll never complain again, once you’ve read “Ugly” by Robert Hoge.

‘Cool Nature’ will help young scientists feel smart

Just by looking at them, you can tell what kind of rocks they are and where they came from. You also know a little about biology,astronomy and what makes you tick, so why not learn more by reading “Cool Nature” by Amy-Jane Beer?

‘Cool Nature’ will help young scientists feel smart

Just by looking at them, you can tell what kind of rocks they are and where they came from. You also know a little about biology,astronomy and what makes you tick, so why not learn more by reading “Cool Nature” by Amy-Jane Beer?

Kids will love creeping through the pages of ’Frightlopedia’

Ever since your child has been young, (s)he’s known that you’d be around for comfort when things got too scary. Well, stand by.What’s inside “Frightlopedia” may still leave you on sentry duty.

New Berkeley Breathed book will charm all ages

I have no socks. Author Berkley Breathed just charmed them off me. Kids will love the colorfully wild illustrations and the basic tale of love and friendship in “The Bill the Cat Story.” They’ll appreciate Bill’s underwear and his goofy “ack.”

Engage teen curiosity with ‘Unlock the Weird!’

While parts of it may be disturbing to wee ones, trivia-loving kids ages 12 to adult will pick this book, for sure. When enjoying “Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Unlock the Weird!” curiosity is key.

Summer tall-tale adventure relies on illustrations to spin story

Lies, liars, lying. Your child has undoubtedly heard those words lately on the news, and he knows better, right? But, sometimes, embellishment is oh-so-tempting, and “The Truth about My Unbelievable Summer” is a perfect example.