Saturday, November 9, 2019

Review - Mama Needs a Minute

Mama Needs a Minute
by Nicole Sloan
Date: 2020
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 16
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Sometimes, Mama needs a minute—and that's OK!

From Nicole Sloan, founder of the Weird Mom Club—an inclusive Internet space for nonconforming moms—Mama Needs a Minute is an affirming, entertaining book for moms and toddlers to share. All about balancing a mama's needs with those of her kiddos, this sweet story teaches that love can look a lot of different ways. For kids, the book is a gentle introduction to concepts of self-respect and setting boundaries, and for moms, it’s a reminder to practice self-care.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a board book aimed, not at kids, but at their entitled Millennial mothers. It's the kind of thing they might give each other to show solidarity, when they're whining about how they never get any time to themselves because that darn infant wants to eat again. I mean... how dare it have needs?

I'm struggling with this because I can't figure out the audience. It's marketed as a children's book, but it's not. It's a board book, which means it's aimed at babies and toddlers... who aren't going to give a crap if Mama is tired or needs to shave her legs or wants to update her Instagram with pictures of Junior's diarrhea. The actual intended audience, I suspect, is children who are old enough that they're beginning to understand that other people have needs. Unfortunately, by that age, they're probably not going to be interested in board books.

I'm also really put off by one of the spreads that shows a mother and child both on their respective laptops, with the mother saying she can see that the kid needs "some time to explore the world" on her own. No, Mama just wants to get her social media fix without having to deal with her kid for five minutes, so she engages the electronic babysitter. (This issue really gets my goat. I feel so sorry for kids today having to compete with electronic devices for their parents' attention. It reminds me of a time recently I was on a ferry and a little boy was playing nicely with his LEGO... until he started getting really annoying. To be fair, it wasn't his fault. The "Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom" just kept going unanswered because his mother--who was sitting right beside him--couldn't look up from her phone for two seconds.)

This book needs to be marketed to adults. It's not a children's book. Thinking something like this is going to magically make babies and toddlers say, "Gee, maybe I need to stop complaining about this wet diaper because Mom looks a bit overwhelmed," is unrealistic and bordering on the delusional. Amp up the humour and market it as a gag gift for new moms. As a children's book, it doesn't work.

Thank you to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 2/5
Meter: 2/5
Writing: 2/5
Illustrations: 2/5
Originality: 2/5

Enjoyment: 2/5

Overall: 2 out of 5

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