Monday, March 22, 2010

A Ride on Mother's Back by Emery & Durga Bernhard

A Ride on Mother's Back: A Day of Baby Carrying Around the World 
by Emery & Durga Bernhard

I knew that I was going to be in for a treat when I opened this wonderfully delightful book and a young baby was reaching upward as his mother or father was reaching down to pick him up from comfortable beautifully drawn pastel-colored bed.

The book begins with, "All around the world babies love to be held close. And parents everywhere need their hands free to work and play. Lifted and carried by someone who cares, young children ride into the day.

How do different people carry their babies?

What is it like to ride on mother's back?"

There are two colorful baby booties right underneath these lovely words.

We then move to the "Chilly dawn in the mountains of Guatemala... Newborn Rosha snuggles in the folds of the shawl tied around her mother. She rides safe and warm, close to her mother's body. Rosha nurses and sleeps, nurses and sleeps."

One of my favorite pages in the book were, "On a frozen inlet in the Canadian far north, baby Pelagie nestles inside the large hood of her mother's parka... Pelagie watches their husky puppy nosing about in the snow. The puppy bounds over and licks her face." Puppies absolutely adore young children so this was a great addition to this story!

We visit Tumani in West Africa. We often see images of children tied onto their mothers backs in Africa. "Lulled by his mother's steady gait and soft humming, Tumani has fallen asleep." The colors are so bright an cheerful that you feel that you are in West Africa along with Tumani, his family and friends!

Next we join Mai in Thailand. "Mai rests on her grandmother's back, secured with a woven cloth.
Mai is nestled close to her grandmother as she "sifts rice with a shallow basket." Mai's grandmother tells her stories of how her mother learned to sew "beautiful story cloths" by her grandmother as Mai listens on intently.

Some of the other places we visit are Amazon River where "Davis is carried against his mother's hip, held in place by a cloth sash looped around her shoulder. Our next stop is Sita's family in Kathmandu where each year they celebrate their beginning of spring at the festival of Holi. Sita rides in a sling on her father's back, holding a small bag of red powder. Looking at the picture, we feel that we are in the square with musicians and other entertainers bringing joy to the large crowd of friendly onlookers.

We are off to Papua New Guinea where "Gogomo sways in the cool net bag that hangs from his mother's head. " Lastly, "High in the Andes Mountains of South America, Juanita rides in a warm woolen shawl tied around her mother's strong shoulders."

I loved looking at the picture of all of the lambs and reading that, "Juanita's mother picks up a lamb that needs help keeping up with the herd. Juanita reaches to pet the lamb's wooly head.... Someday Juanita will herd the sheep and sing the songs she learned while riding on the rmother's back. When I looked at this picture, I thought of petting my own soft-coated dog, Figaro! This brought a HUGE smile to my face.

The book ends as it began quite beautifully... "Families carry their babies all through the day, while planting and harvesting, tending, and gathering, cooking and playing. Snuggled and cuddled, jiggled and bounced, bundled and rocked, babies discovered the world they live in.

And when evening comes and children are carried to bed in loving arms, their dreams will carry them through the night--- until a new day begins."

There are several pages at the very end of the book on "Notes About the Peoples in This Book. This contains information about the people in the book and where and how they live. The place where the child lives in written in boldface along with how to pronounce the word. This is so VERY helpful.

The "Notes About the Peoples in This Book" also contains a picture of the child being carried along with a paragraph on the child's culture. I learned a great deal about how babies are carried all around the world and their rich cultures.
I love all of the pictures especially the rich hues and the warm and friendly colors and expressions on all of the faces. How realistic and beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!! All of the pictures are so warm and cuddly. You feel that you are right there with the parent and child!!!!!!!!
This delightful children's book was music to my ears! What a lovely book! I have recommended it to lots of parents, grand parents, aunts, children, friends!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a creative concept. I would like to see this book made into a calendar. What a great representation of diversity. All parents, schools, libraries, and other places where families congregate should have this for parents and children to read! If there were more materials like this, the world would be a much happier, healthier, and educated place! 

Here is the link on

Here are links to additional information on these remarkable artists/writers!

Happy Reading!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Until the next time!


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