Cork graduate writes children's book celebrating the role mum plays in a baby's life

Mum’s the word in children’s books as Mother’s Day nears, says Pet O’Connell
Cork graduate writes children's book celebrating the role mum plays in a baby's life

Anna McQuinn's book, Zeki Loves Mummy.

Zeki Loves Mummy, by Anna McQuinn and Ruth Hearson (Alanna Max €8.40)

ZEKI loves his mummy, and from the moment he wakes in the morning until he snuggles up for bedtime cuddles, his smiling face shows that she is the centre of his world.

The simplest things are the funniest to a toddler, and there are giggles to be had while playing peek-a-boo, or making dens of cushion mountains on the sofa.

Mother and child share everything during their days together, Zeki travelling in style on the back of Mummy’s bike as they head out for a spin.

“At baby gym, Mummy lifts Zeki with ease. Riding home through the park, Mummy speeds like the breeze.”

Back home, a spot of painting involves both brushes and fingers, and Mummy shows her artistic flair again in the preparation of a lunch where each piece of fruit is carefully arranged to resemble an animal character for Zeki’s amusement.

Though every scene represents a small and seemingly insignificant moment in an ordinary day, they combine to create a wonderfully warm celebration of the special bond between mother and child.

Its short, rhyming text mirroring the simplicity of the parent-infant relationship, this board book encapsulates the joy of those few short years during which a parent is at the heart of everything in a child’s perception.

For many mothers, mammies, mums, or mams, Zeki Loves Mummy will be redolent of the precious period of maternity leave when mothers can devote all their time and attention to their (probably first-born) child.

This is a welcome addition to the Zeki series, which makes adventures out of topics such as a visit to the medical centre, swimming pool, and baby club, and which, fathers will be pleased to know, also includes Zeki Loves Daddy.

It’s the latest book from author Anna McQuinn, a UCC English and history graduate and former teacher in the city, who, after 30 years near London, has recently returned to live in her native Kerry and is now running the PR side of Alanna Max books from Cahersiveen.

Also sharing the love on Mother’s Day are several releases from Hachette, including a new title in the Peek-a-Boo Baby series, I Love You, illustrated by Zoe Waring (€8.40).

Playing peek-a-boo, which is thought to have key developmental benefits, is of course absolutely hilarious for babies and toddlers and this little board book taps into that sense of fun.

Each picture spread features a different baby face, which is revealed when the flaps, shaped like hands, are withdrawn. Simple, but sure to raise a smile and requests for many repeat readings.

Giles Andreae and Emma Dodd’s picture book celebration of mothers, I Love My Mummy (€9.80) is republished for the occasion with a new cover and extra pages for children to personalise.

Not all families fit the conventional stereotype, and Charles Fuge’s Together (€8.40) highlights the warmth of the relationship between a child and their care-giver.

Every day is special for a polar bear and a young cub as they explore their snowy surroundings, enjoying each other’s company as the young cub learns about its environment.

Puffin Books shout it from the rooftops with the title of their new Quentin Blake/Roald Dahl board book, My Mum Is Magnificent (€9.80).

With rhyming verse to entertain all kiddles and chiddlers, this is a read-aloud delight for mothers and toddlers to share.

Ladybird Books also have a new arrival for new mothers in their Baby Touch series of mini board books. Hello Mummy (€7.40) combines bright colours and touch-and-feel textures in a book to stimulate babies’ senses in their very earliest months.

Meet mother duck and her ducklings, mother cat and her kittens, before looking in the mirror at the end of the book to find another mother and her baby.

Also new, in the Ladybird Readers beginner series for children aged three-plus learning English as a second language, is a reworking of Anthony Browne’s floral-patterned portrayal of motherhood, My Mum (€6.40).

Helping children learn and practise their first words in English, My Mum introduces common phrases and vocabulary while celebrating the qualities of the ordinary mother from a child’s perspective with warmth and humour.

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