"Sally" is going on sabbatical to write a book.

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Friday, May 10, 2013

Me and Momma and Big John

Me and Momma and Big John
by Mara Rockliff
illus. by William Low
32 pages; 3-7 years
Candlewick, 2012



themes: family, beauty, being part of something bigger than yourself

"Momma's first day on the job, she comes home late, trudging up the stairs as if they laid that heavy stone right on her shoulders. She is gray as ashes, from her headscarf to her boots..."

Momma is a stonecutter, helping build the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in NYC. She works for weeks on a single stone, and when she and her son, John, finally visit the Cathedral, he can't see the stone. But he does see the beauty of the stained glass, hears soaring music filling the Cathedral, and gets to meet the other stone cutters. In the end he decides it's OK if other people don't know which stone is Momma's - because he'll know. It's one of the stones high above the people, touching the sky.

Beyond the Book

Take a virtual "architecture tour" of St. John the Divine. You'll see images of construction, interior chapels, columns, and more.

 Part of the beauty of Cathedrals is the light within. Illustrator William Low captures that light and beauty in his paintings. You can, too - create tissue paper stained glass to hang in your window.

There might be gargoyles on the Cathedral. You can make your own gargoyle with a paper plate and some other materials from around your house.

This review is part of PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review copy provided by publisher.

14 comments:

  1. I love this book. I reviewed it for PPBF earlier this year, it just hasn't been posted on the list yet. Mara spoke at our PA SCBWI conference and she is a dear!

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    1. I must have been asleep at the wheel to miss your review - I'll go back and look for it. How neat that Mara spoke at your conference. I'll bet she had lots of things to say about researching this book.

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    2. I remember, and it is good to be reminded of it. It looks such a gem.

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  2. St. John the Divine is such an awesome place. This would be a great book to read before a visit.

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    1. I agree. I haven't been to St. John's yet, and now it's on my list of "if you get to NY places you have to see"

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  3. Thanks for sharing this book, Sue! It's good to remember that any job is one of importance and should be done to the best of our ability. Working together to make a thing of beauty is a joy and an honor.

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    1. this is such an important message that kids need to hear. together, many hands make great things of enduring beauty.

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  4. This is a great book. There is an interesting interview about the author at the SCBWI blog. I love, love, LOVE your activities! Thanks.

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  5. I saw this book on PPBF earlier this year, and though it looks fabulous, I STILL haven't read it! I must! I love the idea of a woman in a non-traditional job, the beauty of the cathedral she helps build, and how her son appreciates her work. And great activities! Thank you :)

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  6. Great review and a lovely message. Thank you Sue!

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  7. Sounds like a very interesting book! Great activities to go along with it :-)

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  8. 'm glad you reviewed this book, because I wanted to look it up. It is a beautiful story about a mother and how her son appreciates her work. MUST GET THIS!

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  9. Wonderful book, Sue! I'm glad you reviewed it because I must have missed the previous review of it. I love the opening lines...a lesson in show, not tell.:) :) :)
    Love your activities/resources...I grew up in NYC and have been there...there are quite a few amazing churches and cathedrals in NYC.

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  10. This looks like a really lovely book on a lot of levels! Thanks for sharing. I'll be looking for this one.

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