Brennan-Nelson, Denise. 2003. MY
MOMMA LIKES TO SAY. Ill by
Jane Donovan. Chelsea: Sleeping
My Momma Likes To Say is
a collection of playful rhymes. The rhymes are idioms, proverbs, and clichés
that we use in our everyday English language. Expressions included in the book
are “Money doesn’t grow on trees,” “The apple of my eye,” “time flies,” “reach
for the stars,” “love makes the world go round,” “it’s raining cats and dogs,” “don’t
let the bed bugs bite,” “cat got your tongue,” “if the shoe fits, wear it,” “eyes in the
back of my head,” “hold your horses,” “laughter is the best medicine,” and “when life
hands you lemons, make lemonade.”
The book lists all of these funny
expressions inside short, fun poems. In the introduction of the book, the author
reminisces on how her momma would say some of these funny expressions to her when she was a little girl. Her experiences have been the source of inspiration for writing this book.
Each expression has been incorporated into a poem.
They all include the repetitious
phrase, “…my momma likes to say. I’m not sure what she means but I like it anyway.” The poems are funny because they all appear to be from a child’s point of view. It is interesting to read about what children are imagining – while they are listening to things
that adults say.
The poem associated with the expression,
“time flies when you’re having fun,” demonstrates how a young child may be imaging to fly with time. To help create an image of time flying, the illustrator painted clocks in the sky
with wings. The children in the illustration are having fun at a birthday party
when the flying clocks distracted them.
My Momma Likes To Say is
not only serving a purpose for humor, the author has so cleverly added a few unique educational factors to her book. The origins of each featured expression is footnoted, in smaller print, at the end
of each poem. In some of the poems, such as, “It’s raining cats and
dogs,” and “Sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bugs bite,” there is very specific information about how
the expressions became popular. Also, the author uses the footnotes to create
a higher level of thinking for the reader.
Questions like, “How long
can you stretch your tongue?” “Which president’s portrait appears on the dollar bill?” “How
alert are you?” are presented to keep the reader thinking and maybe even to inspire them to conduct their own research
about the expressions. The illustrations in the book add to the quality and help
visualize the expressions. Without the pictures, I doubt the book would give
the same effect because the reader would be responsible for imagining the expression alone.
The book offers both an educational
and humorous approach to poetry. It is a book that promotes literacy and can
be used to focus on a number of different topics when teaching children in grade school.