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.
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.
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.