I thought I'd mix things up a bit, and volunteered to review a book written by Megan Calhoun, who is the driving force behind TwitterMoms a social networking and community site for moms (of which I'm a member). The book is called Oscar the Pig-Mommy Goes to Work and is the first in a series. It's published by Silly String Media, a new publishing company. You can find the book on Amazon.com for between $16-$18, or at OscarThePig.
Oscar the Pig-Mommy Goes to Work focuses on something that most moms (or dads as the case may be) have dealt with in some fashion~separation anxiety. While it's true that most children have some separation anxiety when they're quite a bit younger, it can rear its ugly head again during the preschool years. That is the focus of Oscar the Pig.
We meet our friend Oscar the pig on his mom's first day back to work. He is worried about what it all means for him: who will take care of him, when will she be back, and most importantly, does she still love him? Oscar's mother brings in Mrs. Tutu, Oscar's nanny. Mrs. Tutu had visited with Oscar the previous week and was back to start taking care of him. Mrs. Tutu remembered that Oscar loved trains, and promised him a special surprise after his mother went to work. Oscar and his mom shared a special "piggy kiss" and she went to work.
Seeing that Oscar was saddened by his mother's departure, Mrs. Tutu brought out her special surprise~a magic egg that transported the two of them to China. While in China, Oscar meets a panda named Chow Chow, who loves trains, has a mother that works and a caregiver of his own. The two talk of their sadness when their mothers go to work, and of the joy that awaits them at the end of the day when their mothers return. After a day of play, Mrs. Tutu and Oscar return home. Oscar's mother soon joins them, and he regales her with his escapades in China, happy at her return.
Despite the quickness of the story, I enjoyed this book. I have a preschooler who has some separation anxiety when he goes to school (as I am a stay-at-home-mom) and the ideas that the book sets forth are extremely important in helping a child cope when mom is away. Rituals for children are incredibly helpful, and having Oscar and his mom give their "piggy kisses" when it's time for her to leave help him know that it's time to transition to his playtime with Mrs. Tutu. It is also important for a child to meet his or her caregiver before the big day arrives in order to put the child at ease. Oscar's mom reminded him that he had already met Mrs. Tutu, which also helped put him at ease. It's not always easy for a young child to be with a caregiver, but having introduced that caregiver ahead of time can certainly help.
Oscar the Pig-Mommy Goes to Work is a great starting point for moms with preschool aged children who are thinking of going back to work, or who are scheduled to go back to work. It's an easy read-aloud book that allows conversations to develop about the who/what/when of mommy going to work and the care being provided their child. The illustrations are delightful and help gently tell the story of Oscar and his mom.