Mummy and Me is the first in the Humber and Plum series by Emma Chichester Clark, author of the Blue Kangaroo series. Chichester Clark has a huge fan base amongst all the small people I know, and I think this book is a lovely introduction to her world.
This is a picture book for early years and pre school children. I would recommend it for children between the ages of two and five.
The story is simple, Humber is a young koala who is used to doing everything with his mother. The first half of the story consists of a list of all the things that mum and Hum do together. What saves this from being rather repetitive and dull are the marvellous drawings by Emma Chichester Clark. Hum is unbelievably cute, and there are some lovely humorous moments in the illustrations, such as when Hum is ‘helping’ his mum with the cooking. This mainly consists of Hum dropping eggs on the floor while his mother good naturedly fields them.
The second half of the book pivots around the idea that there is one day when Mum is too busy to spend the day doing everything with Hum. He pesters her, not knowing what to do with himself, until she gives him a firm reminder that he must find something to do for himself.
Hum finds levels of resourcefulness in himself he didn’t know he had. He learns to amuse himself, and how to win his mum’s heart all over again.
This is a simple story but lovingly told and executed and gentle fun to read with any toddler/ pre school child. The illustrations are rather girly, but Hum is a suitably messy and industrious boy koala, so although it might appeal to girls at first glance, I think it will win over the boys eventually.
It is a nice way of introducing the idea that a child can and should amuse themselves and offering all sorts of suggestions as to what those amusements might be. The book shows the every day life and preoccupations of a small child in a way that is not patronising, nor boring, but comfortable, safe and familiar and even shows the possibility of the child learning to push the boundaries of that world just a little further than they already might have.