Mother, You're the Best! (But Sister, You're a Pest!)

Written and illustrated by Diane deGroat
HarperCollins 2008
ISBN 0061238996
Ages 4 - 8

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It's Mother's Day, and Gilbert wants to show his mother that she's the best! But nothing he does seems to work out quite right. To make matters worse, his little sister always manages to be in the way! Can Gilbert ever have his mother all to himself today? But more importantly, can he make this Mother's Day truly special? Diane deGroat's heartfelt story and endearing illustrations will resonate with any reader who has ever had to share a parent's attention with a sibling.

From School Library Journal Gilbert and his family are back in this sweet Mother's Day offering. The young possum creates a card for his mother and makes her breakfast in bed, but when he delivers the tray, he sees that his little sister is already there, giving their mom a handmade card. Gilbert's not satisfied that he's done enough to let her know he cares, and later, when he sees Lola sitting on Mother's lap, he decides to take her to the store with him to buy Mother a present. Lola drips ice cream on her clothing, so when they get home Gilbert gives her a bath. And when she climbs onto the hammock to be with their mother, he coaxes her to nap in her own bed. Inadvertently, he has given Mother the perfect gift: time to herself, and she is grateful. And Gilbert gets what he needs - time alone with her. Father is often seen in the background patiently cleaning up after his son in the kitchen, straightening the bathroom strewn with his daughter's clothing, and, in general, quietly supporting his family. DeGroat's watercolor illustrations fill the spreads with cozy, homey details of a comfortable school, neighborhood, and house. Fans of Gilbert, as well as readers just meeting this family, will be pleased.

From Publisher's Weekly Mother's Day brings yet another conundrum to the never-dull life of series star Gilbert (Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink; Happy Birthday to You, You Belong in a Zoo). Preparing breakfast in bed for his mother, the well-intentioned possum burns the toast, spills cereal all over the kitchen table and drenches his hand-made card in orange juice. And when he delivers the food, younger sister Lola is curled up with their mother, who is admiring Lola's scribbled card. Jealous, Gilbert manages to keep his sister away from his mother all day - with unintended happy consequences. Lola is delighted by the unprecedented attention, and his mother is thrilled at the downtime. Full-bleed, large-scale illustrations convey the intermittently disgruntled and long-suffering hero's moods. Even without the peer tension that propels a number of deGroat's earlier Gilbert tales, this is a winning addition.

From Booklist In this new Gilbert picture book, Gilbert has made a Mother's Day card, but he wants to give his mother something special. He knows burnt breakfast-in-bed isn't wonderful, no matter what Mom says. When Gilbert keeps his pesky little sister entertained while his mother rests, he finds that he has given her just what she wanted. Though deGroat has depicted Gilbert's world many times before, this empathetic story with colorful paintings is fresh. The artwork offers plenty to observe, such as Gilbert's father dealing with laundry and cleaning in the background. A good classroom read-aloud for Mother's Day.