Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
Disney Hyperion

Rating: 5 stars

Last night in between stringing the lights on our house and setting up the tree, I forced my kids to stop to eat dinner. They didn't want to--they felt and loved the momentum of decorating for Christmas and wanted to ignore their empty stomachs and increased crabbiness. They needed less persuasion when I promised we'd read books during dinner, a habit started nearly a decade ago when Lorelei was our only child and only a baby.

Ben grabbed Mother Bruce, but it was Kiefer who chose it first (the perks of being the youngest). And it was Kiefer who wanted to hear it again two hours later at his bedtime. It's one of those books--a book you'll read again and again because it's so funny, and so sweet.

Bruce is a grump of a bear who doesn't like sunny days or rainy days or cute little animals. He just likes eggs--eggs of all sorts. (Cue Bubba Blue's voice from "Forrest Gump" here.) Eggs on toast. Eggs Benedict. Deviled eggs. Eggs soufflé. Sunny-side up eggs. And then he discovered another "fancy recipe that he found on the internet:" hard-boiled goose eggs drizzled with honey-salmon sauce. Yum!

So he catches a few salmon, collects honey from a beehive, and visits Mrs. Goose to grab some eggs.

He runs into a few problems while cooking, so instead of getting hard-boiled eggs, he gets goslings. That's right: the eggs hatch instead of cook! Funny (and a little horrifying)!

It was hard work.
All of a sudden, Bruce is Mother Bruce with four goslings calling him "MAMA!" He tries to return them to Mrs. Goose, but she's gone south for the winter. The goslings won't stop following Bruce, so he tries to make the best of it. He tries to be a pretty good mama by bjorning the babies, letting them paint, feeding them, napping with them. The seasons pass and he tries to teach them to fly away, but they just buy warm winter stuff so they can stick around.

Finally, Bruce buys five tickets to Florida. And that's what they end up doing every winter: They go south together, and "laze about at the beach in tacky shirts, sipping ice cold lemonade, while Bruce dreams of new recipes--recipes that don't hatch!"


The story and the writing are both great--clever and witty and silly and good. But the illustrations bring the whole book up to another level entirely. The images just cracked us all up. Bruce pushing the grocery cart through the forest looking for ingredients sent my kids into a fit of laughter. Bruce dropping his load of firewood at the sight of four goslings starting at him from his pot made us smile. Grumpy Bruce with four innocent goslings following up a tree made them all laugh again.

You can't go wrong with this book--we give Mother Bruce eight thumb's up!

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