CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Joanne Arnott
Illustrated by Mary Anne Barkhouse
Toronto, Women's Press, 1993. 24pp, paper, $6.95
ISBN 0-88961-180-7. CIP

Kindergarten to Grade 3 / Ages 5-8

Reviewed by Anna Santarossa

Volume 22 Number 5
1994 October

Ma MacDonald is the story of a woman who has her baby on a farm out in the tall grass. Her daughter Mary helps her after the baby is born by bringing her a damp cloth, water and scissors. The baby is nursed and then Mary, her mother and the baby return home "for bread and gravy."

The text of this story is written to the tune "Old MacDonald Had a Farm." While the natural approach to childbirth may be desirable, the text tends to detract from this and trivialize the event.

I believe that the purpose of this book is to illustrate that birth is a natural process. While this is true, as a human being the mother deserves some special consideration: perhaps some comfortable surroundings or someone to hold her hand. The book ignores the reality of labour and of a woman's emotions as she is giving birth. Women are not nonchalant about this process; they laugh, they cry, they hurt and they rejoice. If you're going to try to illustrate what giving birth is all about, then tell it like it is!

I would like to have my students and children know that giving birth is a special event both for mother and for child and not a mere squat in the grass, as this book suggests.

I do not recommend this book.

Anna Santarossa is a teacher-librarian in Bolton, Ontario.

line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

francaisDigital Collections / Collections Numérisees francais