My Mum’s Growing Down by Laura Dockrill

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Illustrated by David Tazzyman.

Published by Faber & Faber, 2017.

My Mum’s Growing Down is a very funny collection of poems about a teenage son and his mom. The poems are raucous and a joy to read aloud. Most are from the point of view of the son but there’s also a section at the back by mom. It begins by relating some very familiar cringeworthy situations: cinema trips, meals out together, parents’ evening… However, what I initially thought was going to be a teenage son wincing at his mom’s embarrassing antics actually ends up as a celebration of his mom’s optimism and joie de vivre. This is a mom who makes rainy days fun and rejoices in the world; she’s a bright light and bundle of positive energy – a counterbalance to the gloom.

Oh, I love the world, me

I love that flowers sprout out of cracks in

concrete pavements

that people write love letters

and make art for no reason

[…] I love that the sky holds back snow

as a treat

and never fails to be magic

Extract from My Mum Says ‘Oh, The World!’ 

I was struck by the power of the love between mother and son. A number of poems moved me to tears, including My Mum Whispers I Love You Like… and My Mum’s Son. As a single mother to a young son, these poems convey everything I want my son to know about my feelings for him and very nearly broke my heart when I read them.

When you were in my tummy

says Mum

the world rumbled something HUGE

that day

I knew things would never be the same again.

[…] And all of the love I knew before

seemed to shatter

and feel a bit embarrassed

because soon I would know you.

Extract from My Mum’s Son 

It’s this mix of poems told for the laughs and poems written from the heart that makes My Mum’s Growing Down so very special. It also doesn’t shy away from reality. Laura’s poems tell of the bad days and the arguments too. It’s a truthful book and all the better for it.

This is a wonderful collection of poems. I love its message of hope, its lust for life and the huge all-conquering love between a mother and a son that radiates from the pages. And to top it all, the book’s bright yellow cover and neon pink sprayed edges perfectly reflect Mum’s exuberant personality! 💖

Rating: 💙💙💙💙💙

Suitable for children aged 9+

Thank you to Faber & Faber for sending me this book to review. I reviewed it as part of the Lollies 2018 blog tour. The Lollies are book awards that celebrate the funniest children’s books. Read more about them and how you can vote by clicking here. You can also enjoy reading an interview with author Laura Dockrill who talks to me about her poems.

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