Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry


Title: Sometimes My Mommy Gets Angry

Author: Bebe Moore Campbell

Illustrator: E.B. Lewis

Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Year: 2003

Number of Pages: 32

Tags: Emotion, Family, Fiction, Picture Book, K-5, Taylor Krueger

Genre: Fiction Children’s Book

Analysis: This book shares the story of a young girl, Annie, whose mother suffers from a mental illness. Some mornings Annie’s mother is happy and bakes pancakes and helps her get ready for school, but other days Annie’s mother is angry and mean. These are the days where Annie has to be a big girl and take care of herself as she knows her mother is not angry because she did something wrong. Annie has her grandmother and friends to help her get through the bad days. Even through the bad days Annie will always know that her mother loves her.

Most of the illustrations of this book take up one whole page. The images are bordered by the edges of the page. The depth and perspective of the illustrations make the reader feel as though they are part of the scenes. The reader is viewing the illustrations from different points of view because at times there is a feeling the reader is sitting right in the scene, but other times the reader is watching from afar. There are throughout the book small simple images that are present on the page that contains the text. These images elaborate parts of the detail in the text that is not directly shown in the main illustration. The illustrations allow the reader to peer through a window into the life of the main character, Annie. They also allow the reader to feel the emotions and daily struggles that Annie goes through, which creates a feeling of empathy towards Annie.

The colors used throughout the book give great insight to the feelings of the characters. For example, when Annie’s mother is happy or Annie is playing with her friends the colors are bright and cheery giving the reader a sense of happiness. When Annie’s mother is angry the colors are dark and the presence of shadows are seen giving the reader an uneasy and sad feeling. The use of dark colors represents danger and anger throughout the book.

There are numerous emotions that are shown through the facial expressions of the characters. The structure of the characters are depicted through the illustrations and add to the meaning of the text. There are times throughout the book that Annie shows the expressions of happy, frightened, sad, and content. She is perceived to be happy when her mother is making her breakfast in the morning, and then scared and sad when she comes home from school and her mother is angry at her. Annie is shown to be very large on the page when she is happy and everything in her life is going smoothly, but when her mother is angry she is small and closed off. She is drawn to be clinging to a teddy bear, which could be her source of strength through the hard times with her mother.

The illustrations and text of the book share an ideology with the reader. There are many children that deal with parents who have a mental illness, but not many children’s books display this message. This book shows the daily life a child whose parent has a mental illness; it shares the ups and downs of the constant change in emotions. The ideology of this book is very strong and creates a sense of uneasiness with the reader as no one would want a child to go through this struggle.

This book is a representation of a multimodal text as the words and illustrations interact to fill in the gaps of the reader. The text and illustrations cooperate to enhance the theme and meaning of the book. The illustrations are seen to be a visual representation of the words. There are some words throughout the book that are bolded representing the anger in the mother’s voice. This allows the reader to visualize how the mother is speaking and allow the illustration to further enhance the visualization.

There is an author’s note at the beginning of the book that shares the meaning behind the story. This book was written in order to address the fears of children who have parents that suffer from mental illnesses. The author gives insight into the symptoms and basics of mental illnesses. The reason for this children’s book is to send hope to those children in this situation. They can learn to find a coping strategy that gives them strength to persevere through the difficult times.

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