________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 4 . . . . October 12, 2007


Mom and Dad Don’t Live Together Anymore.

Kathy Stinson. Illustrated by Vian Oelofsen.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2007.
24 pp., pbk. & hc., $6.95 (pbk.), $19.95 (hc).
ISBN 978-1-55451-093-1 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-55451-094-8 (hc.).

Subject Headings:
Divorce-Juvenile fiction.
Children of divorced parents-Juvenile fiction.

Preschool-grade 2 / Ages 3-7.

Review by Linda Ludke.

**** /4


I wonder why Mommy and Daddy can’t make each other happy. They say they tried and they can’t anymore. That’s why they’re separated.

First published in 1984, Mom and Dad Don’t Live Together Anymore has been reprinted 15 times. Now redesigned with new illustrations, the story in this core parenting collection title remains the same.

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     Based on Kathy Stinson’s own family experiences, this book relates a child’s conflicting emotions over her parents’ separation. The little girl divides her time between both households: “I like it at Mommy’s apartment. I like riding the elevators ... I like it at Daddy’s house too. I like feeding the horses at the farm down the road.” She wishes she could make her parents “happy together,” and worries, “when I grow up, will I get married and then get apart?”

     Nancy Lou Reynolds illustrated the 1984 edition. While the realistic watercolours and black and white sketches are accomplished, the fashions and hair styles have a dated appearance. In this 2007 edition, Vian Oelofsen has offered a different interpretation. His cartoon illustrations portray a slightly younger narrator. The pictures tell a parallel story, with the first page showing the girl packing her suitcase for a weekend visit. The parents are shown engaged in activities with their daughter much more than in the 1984 edition. For example, “Last summer we went camping with Daddy” now has a drawing of the girl, her brother and father paddling a canoe. Reynolds’ illustration was a sketch of a tent. “I wonder where we’ll be on Christmas” now shows the children helping their mother make cookies.

     Compared to the original edition, there are some minor edits to the text. “Barrettes” has been changed to “clips” and “gives me shoulders” is now “gives me rides on his shoulders.” The Toronto-specific sentence, “Mommy took us up the CN Tower,” now reads, “Mommy played soccer with us in the park.”

     The book ends with the reassurance that “My mommy and my daddy love me too.” In the 1984 edition, the words “Just not together” are presented starkly on the last page. In this 2007 edition, the words are accompanied by a comforting illustration of the little young and her mother snuggled together in bed with a storybook.

     After more than 20 years, Stinson’s straightforward, honest writing continues to resonate with children. Public and school libraries will want to refresh their bibliotherapy collections with this revised edition.

Highly Recommended.

Linda Ludke is a librarian in London, ON.


To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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