Josiah's Reviews > In Our Mothers' House

In Our Mothers' House by Patricia Polacco
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Aug 04, 11


Patricia Polacco really is a gift to the genre of picture-book literature. Honestly, I can't think of any other creator of picture books who hits the mark of true excellence as consistently as does she. Her stories never lack emotional resonance and are always very thematically powerful, leaving us undeniably changed by the time we reach the back cover. In my view, Patricia Polacco is right there in the conversation with the greatest authors to have never been officially recognized by the Newbery Committee (as of 2011).

The way I see it, In Our Mothers' House has something to offer everybody. It can be read as just a nice story about a close-knit family and the meaningful remembrances of their time together, how every day was sweet in its own way as time marched on and life continued to change. Marmee and Meema start their family together by adopting a baby from Africa, and it his through her eyes as she grows up that we see the rest of the story. Three years later comes the adoption of a second baby, a boy named Will who from the illustrations appears to be of Asian blood; three years after that, Millie is adopted, a redheaded girl whose country of origin is unspecified in the book. The three siblings form a close relationship to each other and the two ladies who adopted them, and the depth of that connection lasts many years into the future as the kids become adults and have their own families, and Marmee and Meema grow old together.

Patricia Polacco really knows how to affect readers' emotions through her writing, and In Our Mothers' House is no exception to that standard of quality sentiment. One can easily empathize with the realistic mixture of joy and sadness felt by the book's characters as new family members are born and old ones die, but hope always remains alongside that the virtues espoused by the past generations will have a positive impact on those that come after, and therefore the ripples that one creates in the pond of his or her life will never completely disappear from this world.

Patricia Polacco has given us some beautiful writing in this book, and I would definitely give it two and a half stars.
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