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*Mars Needs Moms!* by Berkeley Breathed
Mars Needs Moms!
by Berkeley Breathed
Grades K-3 40 pages Philomel April 2007 Hardcover    

Milo is a child who doesn't see what's so special about moms. So far as he can tell, they erode his summer away from him, employing him as slave labor and making him eat broccoli and carrots. He's forced to take out the garbage by this awful rubber glove-clad menace and sent to bed without any supper after dyeing his sister purple. Milo doesn't see what's so special about his mom, and he tells her so in the aftermath of being sent to his room.

In the night, Martians come and take his mother. Although Milo doesn't know why, he follows them and stows away on their spacecraft. When they got to Mars, Milo understands why the Martians need his mom. They all need looking after and transportation to soccer and other activities. They need her for the same reasons he does, and only then does he realize how much he needs her.

Berkeley Breathed creates a beautiful world in this book, juxtaposing lavishly painted illustrations with pen and ink drawings. The paintings are thick and rich and delicious. The pen and ink drawings are more gritty, reminiscent of the drawings Breathed did in Bloom County (though Milo bears no resemblance to Milo Bloom). Notice how we are never shown Milo's mother's face until Milo sees her as someone without whom he'd be lost (or worse). Notice how droopy Milo's sister's diaper is when she's soaked in dye. Attention to detail will make this enjoyable for curious little ones. A sweet little story to read to the youngsters so they know the kinds of sacrifices moms make for them.

Think I'll write another letter to my local paper and ask them to carry Breathed's Opus strip.

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  Eric Renshaw/2007 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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