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Big Momma Makes the World

4.29  ·  Rating Details ·  197 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
"Among the many creation retellings and variations, this one takes the cake." — THE HORN BOOK (starred review)

When Big Momma makes the world, she doesn’t mess around. With a baby on her hip and laundry piling up, she demands light and dark, earth and sky, creepers and crawlers, and lots of folks to trade stories with on the front porch. And when the work is done, Big Momma
Paperback, 48 pages
Published March 27th 2007 by Candlewick Press (first published November 4th 2002)
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Oct 13, 2009 Amanda rated it it was ok
This is a different version of the creation story that includes a big woman that is very strong minded. The Big Momma starts off by making the world with water. Her determination keeps her going through the creation of water, light, dark, sky, sun, moon, earth, trees, whales, birds, fish, creepers/crawlers (animals), and people. She was very proud of herself and said “That’s good. That’s real good.” After her work was finished she still kept an eye on everyone and told them to straighten
A clever twist on the biblical creation story that ends in the "big bang". The world is created by a mother who is seen in every illustration with her young baby on her hip. The story paints an image of a strong and powerful mother figure who gets things done. Big Mama is practical and matter of fact. Her language is familiar and accessible. The story is told in a way that is not preachy--it is comforting and at time humorous. The illustrations by Helen Oxenbury are beautiful and soothing, celeb ...more
Aug 16, 2007 Taylor rated it it was amazing
I couldn't resist this book when I saw it at Powell's. It's the traditional creation story from Genesis, except that Big Momma makes the world and it isn't easy with that Little Baby sittin' on her hip. But she's Big Momma, so no problem.

This book reads like soul food tastes, like blue grass sounds, and like a warm summer night smells. Not only is is fun to read (quietly or aloud), it gives another perspective on creation concepts. I don't think I can have too many different creation stories on
Brendan Howard
Apr 16, 2014 Brendan Howard rated it really liked it
This was a real delight and led to a much-needed discussion about god. Z was under the impression God was male. Nope. God is neither male nor female. What is god then? God's not real. I told her it's A-OK to believe that, but it's nice to pray to God or sing about god sometimes if you don't believe.
Sarah Skepple
Mar 06, 2015 Sarah Skepple rated it really liked it
Big Momma Makes the World is a different view of the Christian's perspective of God. In the book God is portrayed as a single mother with a baby. The story starts out with the mother and her baby alone, and then throughout the book Big Momma starts making the world, and at the end of each day she says "That's good. That's real good." By the end of the book she has made the entire world, and everyone living inside of it to enjoy it with her.
The genre I would put this under is fiction. I say this
Apr 15, 2015 Emily rated it really liked it
I love when God is portrayed as a woman, powerful and good. Mormons believe that Heavenly Father has a counterpart in Heavenly Mother and I so wish She got more air time. Big Momma Makes the World just whets my appetite for female diety.

Big Momma is warm, creative, and maternal, but she's also no-nonsense, no-fuss, and completely in control. Following the pattern of creation outlined in Genesis, Big Momma creates light and dark, sun and moon, earth and sky. She commands the grass and trees to g
With her little baby in tow, Big Momma makes the ocean, light and dark, the sky, the sun, the moon and stars, the earth, plants, animals, and finally she makes people so she has someone to “swap stories” with on the porch. Big Momma creates the world in six days and on the seventh day she rests. At the end of each day she remarks, “That’s good. That’s real good.” This is a unique creation story about a strong-minded, no-nonsense, “Big Momma” who takes great pride in her work and makes sure to te ...more
Jul 14, 2010 Kimberly rated it liked it
Shelves: everybody-books
Big Momma makes the world starts out with Big Momma floating around in water with a “baby sitting on her hip.” She creates the sky, sun, moon, stars, earth, plants, animals and people in six days and rests on the seventh. When looking at her work at the end of each day she says “That’s good. That’s real good.” She created people so she could sit on the front porch and “swap stories.” At the end of the sixth day she tells them to take care of the world. She sometimes looks down to tell the people ...more
Dec 09, 2012 Meg rated it it was amazing
I love, love, love this book. Big Momma is a down-home God/dess who creates the world with a baby on her hip, and when she's done with each part, she looks at it and says "That's good... That's real good." The use of language is the most brilliant aspect of the story, vividly bringing Big Momma to life as an earthy character with plenty of sass and spice. Also, the story is told with plenty of repetition but also plenty of creativity and humor.

The story definitely mixes up different cosmologies
Jul 29, 2009 Carmyn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library-books
I really like the language in this creation story and the illustrations by Helen Oxenbury are wonderful. It feels very warm and happy and full of life and love.

"When Big Momma made the world, she didn't mess around.

There was water, water everywhere, and Big Mommma saw what needed to be done all right.

So she rolled up her sleeves and went to it. Wasn't easy, either, with that little baby sitting on her hip.

Didn't stop Big Momma, though.
Not for a minute."

The pictures are full of surprises in the
Apr 08, 2016 Becca rated it it was amazing
Pretty sure I have a copy of this book in storage. I loved loved loved it when I was in college and I love it now too. It's a version of the creation story.

I like that it follows the chronological events of the biblical creation story. I love seeing the powerful feminine aspects of God portrayed visually and in the words.

It takes liberties with the creation story and there may be some who are offended by that but I love seeing this book as an echo of the story that I grew up hearing and reading.
Oct 29, 2011 Dotty rated it it was amazing
Listen. This book has a voice. I can hear it. Can I replicate it when I read it aloud? Not sure. It's not my native voice.
The story of the inspiration for the book, a family car trip with kids creating stories about what they saw and why it looked that way, reminds me of our family car trips full of singing.
The illustrations remind me of the book, "The Nativity" illustrated by Julie Vivas - one of my all time favorite children's books.
Mar 01, 2009 K rated it really liked it
Okay, it's a bit old for my two year old. Throughout the book she just labeled the mama as me and the baby as herself and talked about the mama making milk. (Making the world, making milk - same thing, right?) But the writing style hits a home run, the plot runs strong after basing itself off of a more familiar creation story, and the illustrations hold their own. We'll be coming back to this in six months.
Jul 31, 2012 Robyn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-book
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 12, 2011 Megan rated it really liked it
Recommended to Megan by: "New Beginnings" Library Sparks Januray 2012
A story of the seven days of creation, told as if the Creator was a matriarch with a baby on her hip. Momma's dialect ("Sun, you take care of theis day business for me") and Helen Oxenbury's always charming illustrations combine for an imaginative alternative to the creation story. As Momma says, "That's good...that's real good."
Nov 10, 2008 Natalie rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: earth mamas
Recommended to Natalie by: Kate
Shelves: kiddie-esoteric
Oh wow, a book that offers an alternative to the patriarchal telling of creation. I like it just for that. The fact that humans were created just for company for storytelling and porch sittin is just icing on the cake. Oh, and there's even a Big Bang!

Love what the illustrator says on the back flap about, creating a combination buddah/housewife. Spot on.
Jan 19, 2009 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, picture-book
One of my favorite picture books of all time, and I am PICKY about picture books! This is a creation myth beautifully told with gorgeous illustrations. I loved this book even before I had my daughter, and after reading it to her I realized that she tended to lose interest in the earlier illustrations that are very monochromatic. But after that, she was enthralled!
Oct 06, 2008 Kathy rated it did not like it
Big Momma Makes The World is a "myth" on creation. Big Momma is the main character who represents God. The story is a light-hearted take on the creation theory. To be quite honest I would not use this book in my classroom. However an activity I would use is a rountable discussion of the story. A second activity would include having the students write a myth about the evolution theory.
Ellyn Getts
Dec 12, 2011 Ellyn Getts rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Although this story isn't Christian, I think it is good to present different ideas and perspectives of the creation story. This particular book does not present any particular religious view; it actually combines some. In this way many students' family beliefs will be reflected in the pages. It could also be a study on culture.
All in all I guess it qualifies as a good children's story book. Very nice pictures, interesting story of creation that I thought could be a nice story to tell my children one day. It fails, however, to catch my attention. It is nice and sweet, but not captivating. Yeah, nice one for girls, I suppose.
Juneau Public Library

This picture book, written by Phyllis Root and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, tells the story of the world as created by Big Momma, a no-nonsense character who keeps an eye on the world from above, occasionally saying, "Better straighten up down there!" but just as often, she looks down and says, "That's good. That's real good."

Recommended by mj

A folksy creation story, excellent for retelling, easygoing voice of the making of the world by Big Momma, a solidly built woman who makes the world in seven days while her baby looks on. "That's good, that's real good," Big Momma says, satisfied with her accomplishment.
Jul 23, 2013 Betsy rated it liked it
A charmingly illustrated version of the Creation story in which God is personified as a woman with a baby on the hip. Kudos for the "voice" in the story and for keeping the order of events the same. Still, I'm not sure I can get around God being a woman with a baby on the hip...
Sep 10, 2013 Patricia rated it really liked it
Emma was right. This story begs to be read aloud in a southern accent. It's so charming! The illustrations are beautiful. It's one I recommend highly (and thank Dayna for recommending it to me) and would give as a gift to a young child.
Boston Globe-Horn Book Award

Oh goodness did I love this book! Nice pacing and rhythm, sounds like a story born out of an oral tradition. "That's good, that's real good," she says, and she means it. sweet creation story for all kinds of littles!
Jan 02, 2013 gaia. rated it it was amazing
I think this is a wonderful spin on the creation story for children & everyone! It is a lovely story with beautiful pictures. It is one of my two year old son's favorite books & we read it together almost daily!
Sep 15, 2009 Holyn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
Big Momma is part Buddha and part housewife. She creates the world with a baby on her hip and laundry in the wash. Oxenbury's illustrations are, as usual, exquisite. I love having a different creation story to read to my little one.
Sam Grace
This is Genesis where God is embodied in Big Momma. Read this while visiting my nephew and now must have for my own. This is full of yay.
P is for Polly
All of us moms who read the creation story to our kids, picture it like this in our heads anyways :) Every mom would love a copy of this book.
Katie Sorensen
Oct 26, 2015 Katie Sorensen rated it it was amazing
Everything a picture book should be - beautiful words, gorgeous pictures. I loved this creation story.
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"Picture books are performances," says Phyllis Root, quoting some sage advice she once received. "They're performances that involve a child--something both of you do. And once I started thinking of them that way, I started getting much looser about making up words and playing around with rhythm."

Phyllis Root picked up an early affinity for colloquial language while growing up in Indiana and south
More about Phyllis Root...

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