Putting their fears to bed

Miri Leshem-Pelly's illustrations, and Gitlin-Cohen's careful research will make this book an asset for any family that needs it.

mommy sick book 88 248 (photo credit: Courtesy)
mommy sick book 88 248
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Mommy is Sick - Get Well Soon, Mommy! By Sigal Gitlin-Cohen Illustrations Miri Leshem-Pelly Sigal Books 36 pages How do you tell a young child that one of his or her parents is sick and must spend time in the hospital? That is the premise of children's author Sigal Gitlin-Cohen's latest publication Mommy is Sick, a colorful look into the feelings of a young boy as his mommy is in the hospital. As with her other children's book, Mommy and Daddy Are Going Overseas, Gitlin-Cohen has certainly researched her topic and here she tackles an issue that most parents willfully try to avoid. With a foreword from a clinical and vocational psychologist and tips for broaching the subject with small children at the end, she presents the story in direct, no-nonsense way that is not devoid of sensitivity or kindness. In the story, Abir is feeling abandoned by his mommy who has gone into the hospital due to some mysterious illness. Although the author never reveals what is actually wrong with her, for the young intended audience, that is fairly irrelevant. What is important, however, is how Abir is dealing with his mother being away and how he reacts when he finally sees her lying in the big hospital bed. "I was a little nervous when we reached Mommy. She was lying in her bed when we entered the room. I slowly walked to her bed, even though I wanted to run, to jump on her, to hug her tightly and to kiss her and even to cry a little, I wanted to feel her warmth and love. But something stopped me! I couldn't! So I went very slowly, I held Pilpiloni tightly, I barely smiled, I barely hugged her, Mommy was so WONDERFUL," reports the little boy, who is the story's main narrator. In addition to coming to terms with his mother's condition, he also deals with several other issues such as being left with babysitters or recording his feelings in a Wish Book through drawings. As with all such "self-help" books, Mommy is Sick is certainly a useful tool for parents who find themselves in such a predicament. The author's closing tips and suggested questions are extremely useful. However, there are a few problematic elements with this book, namely the age of protagonist, Abir, who is said to be only in kindergarten and therefore not so appealing to older children who might also find this book interesting. Plus, in the English version the prose is wordy and certainly does not flow, making it fairly difficult to read. That said, Miri Leshem-Pelly's illustrations are certainly eye-catching, and Gitlin-Cohen's careful research will make this book an asset for any family that needs it.