#WomenReadWomen2019 Books Early Readers Genre Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Reading Themes Sisterhood and Female Bonds

Beehive-Haired Mothers and Aunts In Picturebooks

"Aunt Claire's Yellow Beehive Hair" by Deborah Blumenthal and Mary GrandPré | "A Very, Very Noisy Tractor" by Mar Pavon and Nivola Uya.

Myra here.

I love how these two picturebooks feature a beehive-haired mother and aunt. How often do we chance across those characters in picturebooks, truly? The female bonds aspect is also evident in the narratives, as the first book looks at Annie’s tenuous connection with her aunt, and her grandma who told her family histories. The second book, on the other hand, ended with a mother-daughter bond that made me smile.

Aunt Claire’s Yellow Beehive Hair

Written by Deborah Blumenthal Pictures by Mary GrandPré
Published by Pelican Publishing Company (2007)
ISBN: 0803725094 (ISBN13: 9780803725096). Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Annie belongs to a large family who loves having meals together. After dessert is finished, the grown-ups love talking about family near and far, here and gone.

Initially, I thought the story would focus primarily on Aunt Claire’s yellow beehive hair, as the title seemed to suggest. However, Aunt Claire is only one small bead in this string of necklace, apparently, as Grandma Marilyn tells Annie various anecdotes of family members throughout a very long history.

The book is a tribute to family stories and legacy, to tiny memorabilia that signifies cherished memories, and to a sense of rootedness reminding a young girl of those who came before, paving the way for her existence, and the many exciting stories that are yet to come through her.

A Very, Very Noisy Tractor

Written by Mar Pavon Illustrated by Nivola Uya
Published by Cuento De Luz (2013)
ISBN: 8415619650 (ISBN13: 9788415619659). Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

This farmer just happens to be a lady with a beehive and a noisy tractor. As she chugs down the road, various people seem to be scandalized by her huge hair that seems to have a life of its own, her thick and stylish eyeglasses, her blue raincoat, her rubber boots, her bright red purse. Honestly, I just love her sense of style.

The noise of her tractor allowed her to conveniently drown out the voices of naysayers who seem to have varied opinions about what a woman in beehive hair, blue raincoat, rubber boots, and stylish eyeglasses should and should not be doing.

When this fierce woman arrived home to a hearty dinner prepared by her loving husband, her daughter unabashedly announced that she also wants to drive a tractor and become a farmer like her momma when she grows up.

The mother’s response was honest, heartbreaking, and real. While the narrative may seem explicit and heavy-handed for others, I thought it was refreshing, ingeniously executed, and dare I say, stylishly rendered. That beehive clearly rocked!

This is definitely one story that should be added to your empowered-female bookshelf! One of my favourites from our #WomenReadWomen2019 reading theme – and yes, it is from Spain!

#WomenReadWomen2019: Deborah Blumenthal and Mary GrandPré are from the United States Of America.

Mar Pavon and Nivola Uya are from Spain.

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

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