Cover image for My mother's secret life
My mother's secret life
Emberley, Rebecca.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston, Mass. : Little, Brown, [1998]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 26 cm
A young daughter, never dreaming that Mother does anything more than clean the house and take care of her, begins to see things differently.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 2.0 0.5 1961.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC. BK. Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



A young daughter, never dreaming that Mother does anything more than clean the house and take care of her, begins to see things differently.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 4-8. When things get hectic at home, even the best mother needs a break. On a particularly frustrating day, the mother goes upstairs, ostensibly to take a little time out, and the young girl falls asleep and dreams of the circus, surprised to find her mother its amazing star. When the girl wakes, there's her mother--was it all just a dream? The premise is charming, but the story is more confusing than ambiguous--the mother grabs a top hat on her way upstairs; the girl hears thumping upstairs before falling asleep, and when she wakes, the cat's breath smells of popcorn; these are the basic clues given. However, the collage artwork is gorgeous and irresistible, especially the detailed circus scenes with their glitter, animals, and fantastic clowns and feats. Emberley also amusingly describes and depicts the frustrating events of earlier in the day--the dog throwing up on the carpet, the cat eating the cake frosting, the young girl accidentally breaking her mother's necklace; all things that mothers and daughters can relate to. But in this case, it's the pictures that steal the show, and they're worth a look in themselves. (Reviewed April 15, 1998)0316234966Shelle Rosenfeld

Publisher's Weekly Review

Emberley (Three Cool Kids) recounts a girl's glittery fantasy of the big top, where the trapeze artist hides a secret identity. The story opens as the narrator, her cat and her dog have just made a royal mess at home. "Holding her head, my mother said, `Enough. This place looks like a three-ring circus!' " After Mom stomps off to her room, the narrator retaliates by painting the refrigerator. She then takes a nap and dreams about attending an actual three-ring circus. The scene turns nightmarish when the dreamer angers a fellow circus-goer, but calm returns when a masked performer whisks the girl to safety. " `Mother!' I cried. `Who else?' said the lady." When the girl wakes, all is forgiven. If the text is disjointed, energy erupts from the dazzling illustrations, rendered in color-saturated, mixed-media collage. Emberley adroitly assembles cut-paper shapes and uses novel props like mesh fabric and tinsel. Metallic surfaces gleam without glaring, shadows peek from between each handcrafted layer, and readers practically feel the textures of fuzzy feathers and plastic beads. This could inspire some cut-and-paste projects for those days when the house seems overtaken by Barnum and Bailey. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2‘When the narrator's mother gets fed up with the calamities of everyday life and retreats to her room, her napping daughter dreams herself at a circus. When the child spills her popcorn on a stranger in the crowd, her mother appears on a flying trapeze to rescue her from the man's wrath. This may seem the antithesis of Max's banishment and escape into fantasy in Where the Wild Things Are, but the resolution of constant maternal love is just as reassuring. Emberley's collages, composed of feathers, beads, netting, glitter, and fancy papers provide appropriate color and glitz. Good fun.‘Miriam Lang Budin, Mt. Kisco Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.