Mama Loved to Worry
about the book
Life on Daisy Dell Farm can be worrying, and Mama is a world-class worrywart, earning the top prize at the Pickapeck County Fair. With summer’s volatile weather to watch, Mama’s attention is pulled in all directions. And then there’s Baby Eli, always getting into some sort of mischief. Like the day he climbed up the silo just as a twisty wind blew through; it scooped him up and set him down—safely—in the cow pasture. Whew! Imagine when the river runs high or the heat pops the corn in the field: Baby Eli will somehow get tangled up in whatever Mother Nature has to offer.
Mama channels her nervous energy into sewing and knitting and cooking, keeping all the family and livestock warm and well fed. Then, after yet another extended worrying session, Mama executes one more grand rescue of Baby Eli, and the predicament they find themselves in brings just what it should: not worry, but laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. Everything turns out fine, as it usually does, and what better way to celebrate than with all those well-dressed kin and critters, not to mention plates and plates of wonderfully tasty food? At some point, even Mama manages to say, “Why worry?”
two of Rachael Balsaitis' illustrations for the book:
A real, actual, paper letter, delivered by the beloved USPS, and sent by an eight-year-old child named Daisy. I’ve posted it here with her permission.
“A tall tale fit for worrying mothers everywhere. Mama’s won blue ribbons in worrying, and between Midwestern weather and a toddler as slippery and wandering as her Eli, it’s no wonder. Well, when Mama gets to worrying, she tends to keep her hands busy. When she worries about a twister carrying off the farm, she knits scarves and hats and mittens for the farm animals—until she realizes that a twister really is carrying off baby Eli. And when she worries about the heat drying up the creek, she sews clothes for all the uncles, aunts, and cousins—until the river of sweat pouring off her sweeps off baby Eli. And when she worries about the heat popping the corn in the field, she cooks up a storm—until she notices that baby Eli is missing yet again. Some searching finds both him and some peace at last for worrying Mama. Balsaitis’ illustrations, which appear to be watercolor, extend the fun—the farm animals get into just as much mischief as Eli, and Mama’s Amelia Bedelia expressions play up her naiveté. While there is some diversity among the extended family, Mama and Eli are both white, his bowl haircut framing his innocent face. Readers’ own mothers’ worries will seem tame in comparison. Follow this up with some McBroom for more tall tales from the farm.” (Kirkus Reviews)
written by Maryann Weidt
illustrated by Rachel Balsaitis
Minnesota Historical Society Press