Book: While Mama Has a Quick Little Chat

While Mama Has a Quick Little Chat
Amy Reichert
ill. by Alexandra Boiger
2005

This book starts with the telephone ringing. Mama answers it and tells her daughter she is going to have a “quick little chat” and that the little girl should get ready for bed. As any small child knows, a “quick little chat” is never quick or little. This chat is so long that while her mother talks the little girls manages to host an impromptu party with a magician, a band, waiters and everything. And manages to get it all cleaned up and no trace left by the time her mother gets off the telephone. The book is very cute.

The text of this picture book is wonderful. It portrays wonderfully the exasperation and frustration of the little girl as she keeps being told that her mother will be off the telephone soon. The language is simple, but it doesn’t feel dumbed down. The language feels perfectly appropriate for reflecting the feelings of the little girl, which is what it should do. The flow is perfect as well, always matching the pace of the plot.

The pictures were what really made this book special. As wonderful as the text is, the pictures take it that extra step to make it great. They are bright and colourful, but not incredibly detailed. Instead, they have all of the energy of the child and as the party grows, the energy in the illustrations grows as well. The mood is completely set by the wonderful colours and simple but striking layouts of the pictures. Details like the telephone cord getting wrapped around the mother’s foot as she talks reinforce perfectly the irritation that the little girl (and by extension, the readers) feel with her. The pictures match the text wonderfully and really take the book that extra step to make it memorable.

I loved this book. I would most definitely recommend it and intend to add it to my collection when I get the chance!

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