Her Mother's Face.jpg

Her Mother's Face

Written by Roddy Doyle

Illustrated by Freya Blackwood

Award-winner Roddy Doyle's debut picture book.

She can remember the way her mother joked. She can just about feel her mother’s hands, lifting her up to pick a chestnut from a tree. She even found the polka-dot scarf that her mother used to wear. And now Siobhán wears it too. But she can’t remember her mother’s face anymore. And her father’s too sad to help.

Then one day a mysterious woman appears and tells Siobhán a secret... something that could bring back all that’s been forgotten: not just her mother’s face, but how they all laughed together.

For anyone with a loved one they long to remember, Roddy Doyle’s story is like a balm to the heart, and a feather in the knickers.

Reviews and Awards

⋆ "In his first picture book, Doyle (Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha; The Giggler Treatment) draws on magical realism to leaven a story about grief. It begins in the language of a modernized fairy tale: “There was once this girl and her name was Siobhán. [She lived with her father in] a great house, full of interesting rooms and corners, full of old magazines and old machines and old, old toys and teddy bears.” But Siobhán's mother has died, and Siobhán cannot remember her face. Years pass as the girl carries her grief silently, until a meeting with a stranger in the park brings unexpected consolation and solid advice (look in the mirror, the woman tells her); many more years pass before Siobhán realizes that the stranger was her mother. The storytelling flows gracefully between the naturalistic details (the sight of mothers buttoning their children's coats intensifies Siobhán's pain) and the magical encounter. Blackwood (Half a World Away) magnifies Doyle's optimism in her limpid watercolor and charcoal art; she focuses on moments of connection, while cues in her compositions (e.g., a kitten that ages with Siobhán) underscore the message that life goes on." - Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Blackwood’s wonderful watercolor-and-charcoal art, reminiscent of Patricia Polacco’s pictures, has a lightness that, while not diminishing the story’s heartbreaking core, adds a hopeful, soothing dimension. Life goes on, the book informs readers, and so can individuals.” - Booklist 

Purchase Options
Indiebound •  Amazon • Barnes & Noble

Fall 2008
Picture Book
ISBN: 0-439-81501-0
Price: $16.99 / $18.99
Trim Size: 8" x 10"
Page Count: 40
Foreign Rights: Scholastic
Translation Rights: Scholastic
Rights Available? yes

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