In Print

A tale for mothers

By Eleni Collins - May 10, 2007

"Mother's Day on Martha's Vineyard," by Ursula Ferro, illustrator, Ruth Adams. Marti Books, 2007. $12.95. 88 pages.

With the third book in her Kids, Animals, and Families Together series, Ursula Ferro continues to entertain children with the blissful life of Rachel and her family - in which cats play a major role.

Beginning with "Tanny's Meow," followed by "Wishing for Kittens," Ms. Ferro's newest book follows young siblings Rachel and Tim, with their mothers Mommy Ginny and Mama Mariah, and their two cats, Tanny and Sophie, on a Mother's day weekend trip to Martha's Vineyard to visit their grandparents.

Ms. Ferro fully captures the anticipation, planning, and mood while traveling and relaxing on their mini vacation. Young readers and parents can relate to the children's eagerness and the parent's preparation. With their backpacks packed and their Mother's Day cards made a week before, Rachel and Tim resemble the thousands of youngsters who travel to the Island with their families.

To fit the role of a Vineyard vacation story, Ms. Ferro introduces readers to familiar Island spots. On their arrival around the chop into the Vineyard Haven Harbor, Ms. Ferro describes the sights.

"Soon they were approaching the Martha's Vineyard coastline. There were the big West Chop houses and now they could see the tall masts of the schooners Shenandoah and Alabama."

From the ferry, to the Thrift Shop, Squibnocket, and Gus Ben David's World of Reptiles and Birds, Rachel and her family keep busy during the spring weekend. They also travel to the West Tisbury library, and make stone houses on Lambert's Cove Beach.

Tanny and Sophie, the cats, travel with Rachel's family to the Vineyard. The vacation is running smoothly until Sophie is discovered missing from the children's bedrooms. It turns out, she made friends with one of the Island's favorite pests - a skunk - through the screen door. Lucky for everyone, the skunk spared the cat a spray, and the problem was solved when Sophie returned upstairs.

The black-and-white illustrations by Ruth Adams help tell the story and visualize important parts - the children making their cards, the family on top of the ferry, Sophie meeting the skunk, and their final trip to the beach where the children write a message in the sand.

What speaks for this book is the Mother's Day theme, the thoughtfulness of the children in all of their gifts found at the Thrift Store, and the kindness found within the entire family. The Mother's Day breakfast that concludes the story is what mothers hope for, surrounded by family, along with a gentle mishap that reminds us that all is not perfect.