Mama’s Coming Home

Illustrated by Tomek Bogacki Published March 2003

“Mama’s coming home,” says Papa. And that’s all it takes to get this rambunctious household – two boys, a baby, a dog, and a cat – to settle down. As they pitch in, preparing dinner and straightening up the house, Mama crosses the bustling city, eager to be with her family. Tomek Bogacki’s clever illustrations and Kate Banks’s rhythmic text capture the spirit of activity and anticipation as finally, at the end of the day, their two worlds come together. Children will delight in sharing in the celebration of this everyday homecoming.

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The creators of lovely rebus tales such as The Turtle and the Hippopotamus (2002) collaborate on a more straightforward offering that captures the end-of-day excitement as children wait for a parent to return from work. On each double-page spread, scenes at home, where a father starts dinner and children play, alternate with scenes of a mother closing her shop and rushing through crowded subways and rainy streets. Finally, Mama arrives home safely, and the family enjoys Papa’s homemade pizza. Banks’ short, poetic words build a mood of cozy anticipation with bouncing rhythms and the refrain of “Mama’s coming home,” while Bogacki finds cheerful chaos in both the bustling city and the warm indoors, evoking the scenes in rich colors and his signature, faintly blurred, childlike style…Banks and Bogacki offer a sunny, action-filled view that will particularly resonate with young children of working moms and stay-at-home dads. –Gillian Engberg