Hardcover – April 14, 2015

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Without even thinking about it,Mama Seeton puckered her lips and whistled.It was not a loud whistle.Or a fancy whistle. Just a simple two-note whistle.When Mama Seeton whistles, her children run home for chocolate cake, hugs, kisses, and shared memories. But as time passes, they travel farther and farther away from the familiar sound. Can mama’s whistle be heard all over the world, and bring her children home one more time? Newbery Award-winning author Jerry Spinelli’s sweet lyrical text and New York Times bestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham’s charming illustrations show the timeless love between a mother and her children.

From School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2—When Mama Seeton whistles out the back door, her four children, three boys and a girl, all the time respond by dashing home for dinner and chocolate cake. But when they grow up and leave town, that whistle can no longer bring them home, and Mama Seeton misses them desperately. Someday Papa encourages her to go outside and whistle, hoping the pretense will help, but it doesn’t. On the other hand, though “no one has ever been able to provide an explanation for” how it happened, each now-adult child hears the familiar sound and comes home, even from distant places. Now, following her example, Mama Seeton’s children call their own offspring with a whistle as well. Mama is based on a neighbor from Spinelli’s childhood, and the illustrations, executed in watercolor and ink, feature the cars, bikes, hair styles, clothing, and black-and-white TVs of his boyhood years. An especially effective spread depicting the various exploits of the children all across town conveys the passage of time with a display of all four seasons, beginning with the blossoms of spring on the left and moving across the page to summer greens, autumn colors, and finally, a snow-covered hillside on the right. A wavy pink line swirls all through the pages connecting mom and children, and alert readers will notice how the kids’ childhood interests blossom into their adult pursuits. Author and illustrator notes complete this nostalgic look at the enduring love between a mother and her children.—Marianne Saccardi, Children’s Literature Consultant, Greenwich, CT

Review

* “Spinelli and Pham make beautiful music together, creating an unabashedly old-fashioned family fable that are supposed to leave readers of all ages snuggling a little closer to one another.”―Publishers Weekly, starred review

* “Fun and memories mix here, delightfully demonstrating the old adage, there is no place like home.”―Booklist, starred review

“[A] nurturing look at the enduring love between a mother and her children.”―School Library Journal

“At the same time as the empty-nest trope will appeal to adults more than kids, youngsters will understand both the love and the silliness of a family call….”―The Bulletin

See all Editorial Reviews
Without even thinking about it,Mama Seeton puckered her lips and whistled.It was not a loud whistle.Or a fancy whistle. Just a simple two-note whistle.When Mama Seeton whistles, her children run home for chocolate cake, hugs, kisses, and shared memories. But as time passes, they commute farther and farther away from the familiar sound. Can mama’s whistle be heard in all places the world, and bring her children home one more time? Newbery Award-winning author Jerry Spinelli’s sweet lyrical text and New York Times bestselling illustrator LeUyen Pham’s charming illustrations show the timeless love between a mother and her children.