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Mama Zooms


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When a toddler sits on his mother's lap, he pictures himself transformed into a jockey racing across green lawns, a ship captain negotiating stormy seas, a smooth race car driver, a pilot whipped by wind in an open airplane, a train engineer peering down a dark tunnel. But this is no ordinary lap of pretend, because Mama has a ``zooming machine''--a wheelchair that transports mother and child to work and play and, best of all, far away realms of the imagination. Cowen-Fletcher's full-page pastel and pencil illustrations, frequently enhanced by the use of close-ups, depict within crisp outlines an energetic boy in changing costumes and appropriate positions on his mother's knees. A sense of motion that provokes joy makes it easy for little ones to join in the zooming from morning to bedtime, when ``Mama is just my mama, and that's how I like her best.'' With mother and son obviously relishing their every moment together, youngsters will warm to this unusual and commendable book--an unaffected portrait of a physically challenged individual. Ages 3-6. (Mar.)

PreS-Gr 2-- It's natural for a young boy to think his mother is omnipotent. Add to that the fact that she's wheelchair mobile and the pair have some wonderful adventures. On his mother's lap, the narrator imagines himself a jockey, a sea captain, a racing-car driver, a pilot, a train engineer, and an astronaut. Anchoring these exploits and tying them to reality is his father, who puts the child on his mother's lap in the morning and pushes her up the ``very steepest hills.'' Rather than being a fully fleshed-out story, the poetic text describes the action in the full-page drawings done in pastel and colored pencils. ``Mama zooms me through a puddle and she's my ship at sea. Mama zooms me across a bridge and she's my airplane.'' The pictures feature an attractive woman, her costumed son, and her manually operated vehicle. Some are closeups, while others show an entire scene. Children will tune in to the fantasy and enjoy the speed and energy captured in the artwork. The large type and simple sentence structure are appropriate for beginning readers. Best of all, this understated book presents a positive image of a physically challenged individual. --Nancy Seiner, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh

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