Cover image for Mama's way
Mama's way
Ketteman, Helen.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, 2001.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Wynona longs for a beautiful new dress to wear to her graduation from sixth grade, even though she knows that her mama cannot afford to buy one for her.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 3.1 0.5 43519.
Added Author:
Format :


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

On Order



When Wynona sees a beautiful dress in a store window, she has to have it. But, although Wynona's mother works hard to support her three children, there's never any money left over for luxuries -- not even for special occasions like her daughter's sixth-grade graduation. Will Wynona be forced to wear a friend's old hand-me-down dress, or will her mother find a way to grant her daughter's wish?

Mary Whyte's heartfelt paintings perfectly complement Helen Ketteman's lyrical story about the true meaning of generosity and a mother's love.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 6^-8. Lovingly composed watercolor illustrations complement a straightforward text in this celebration of old-fashioned values and the love between a mother and daughter. Wynona needs a white dress for her upcoming sixth-grade graduation, and she's seen the perfect one in a store window. Her single mom has no extra cash for a new dress, and because Wynona looks after her two brothers in the afternoons, she can't earn the money herself. Knowing how much Wynona wants the new dress, her mother manages to scrape together the money, but an unexpected turn requires Wynona to return it. Finally, in a sentimental yet satisfying ending, Wynona does receive a fine new dress--her mother's incredible transformation of a hand-me-down. --Shelley Townsend Hudson

Publisher's Weekly Review

Ketteman's (I Remember Papa) tale of a girl whose reluctant generosity is rewarded may be predictable, but it is still uplifting. Wynona's sixth-grade graduation is coming up, but money is tight. So when her friend Sarah offers her a hand-me-down, Wynona is gratefulÄuntil she sees Sarah's brand-new dress, which Sarah has brought to Wynona's mother, a seamstress, to hem. "I looked at the two dresses hanging together," says Wynona. "Somehow, the old one didn't seem so pretty anymore." Wynona turns sullen as she performs household chores and baby-sits her younger brothers, until her mother gives her money for the new dress Wynona has spied in a shop window. When one of her brother's breaks his wrist, Wynona sacrifices her dress money for the hospital bill. Ketteman credibly charts Wynona's growth, as she rises above self-centeredness into a sympathetic character. The author ably outlines both the friction and the underlying love between mother and daughter, while Whyte's expressive watercolor portraits add both softness and substance to the contemporary setting. Ages 5-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-The struggles of a single mother who supports her three children by sewing and cleaning houses are poignantly portrayed in this picture book. Wynona loves pretty clothes and especially longs for a fancy white dress for her sixth-grade graduation, but the family's finances make purchasing such luxuries difficult. She fears she will have to settle for a hand-me-down dress from a friend rather than the gorgeous creation she has seen in a dress shop. When her mother surprises her a week before graduation with the money for a new dress, the girl is overcome by both elation and guilt. Her euphoria doesn't outlast the day, though, because her brother breaks his arm and, in a selfless act, she returns the money to help cover his medical expenses. Her mother, however, still manages to make graduation a special day in her own inimitable fashion-Mama's way. Gentle, realistic watercolor washes imbued with warm hues effectively convey the emotions of this loving family vignette. What might have been a saccharine story is instead a heartfelt depiction of single parenthood and a strong bond between a mother and daughter.-Rosalyn Pierini, San Luis Obispo City-County Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.