BY POLLY DUNBAR. PUBLISHED BY FABER & FABER. £12.99 hardback, £7.99 ebook.
Reviewed by Motherdom Deputy Editor Claire Gillespie.
I’ve been a fan of Polly Dunbar for years. In fact, my son loved her before I did. In June 2007, six months before he was born, Polly’s children’s book Penguin was released. I read it to my baby long before he was old enough to focus on the brightly coloured illustrations and follow Ben and Penguin’s funny, heart warming journey.
Award-winner Polly has also written and illustrated Dog Blue and Flyaway Katie for little ones (among many others), and now she’s created a treat for her older readers.
According to the official press release, Hello Mum is Polly’s ‘visual diary of the magical highs and absurd lows that many parents will recognise – from the shock and awe of the baby days to the delight (and terror) of the toddler years and the mayhem of sibling rivalry.’
According to mums (this one included), it’s a really special book. The illustrations are beautiful, the sentiments behind them authentic. The fact that Polly admits herself in the introduction that the drawings were ‘mostly made far too early in the morning, coffee in hand, sketch book on lap, boys clambering over me “borrowing” my pens’ makes it feel like the book is completely unfiltered and unplugged.
Hello, Mum takes the reader on a journey, from ‘Phase One’ (aka ‘Hello, Baby’) through to ‘Phase Eight,’ which could be any stage for the reader. For Polly herself, it’s the moment she finished this book, her two sons increasingly independent but still reliant on her for everything, including her pens. And while I really did feel as if I was going on a journey with Polly, this is also a book you can dip into whenever you want. Like all great illustrated books, it won’t disappoint whatever page you land on when you open it.
Honest, tender and funny, Hello, Mum made me laugh and it made me cry. It’s going to be my go-to gift for every new mum.
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