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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Dear Mama's Loving Arms is a children’s picture book written by Ceece Kelley and illustrated by Sawyer Cloud. When the sun shines in on the baby in his crib and wakes him up, his first thought is that it's time to be in his mama’s arms. Then he wonders, where is Raffie? Raffie is his stuffed giraffe toy. He’s velvety soft and so huggable, but Mama’s hugs are the best of all. Baby loves how Mama sings to him as she rocks him back and forth. When she hears his tummy rumble, she knows it’s time for him to drink warm milk and eat his vegetables. And then, all too soon, he feels his eyelids getting heavy, and Mama notices. Oh no! -- Baby thinks -- I’m not sleepy! But Mama can tell the signs of a sleepy baby, and she tenderly lays him down in his crib again and tucks Raffie close beside him. Baby will dream of having an adventure with Mama until it’s time to wake up and see her again.
Ceece Kelley’s Dear Mama's Loving Arms celebrates the love and closeness of an infant and his mother. Kelley shares the feelings and emotions of both child and mom in this sweet and moving story. Sawyer Cloud’s muted yet warm palette works so well to enhance the storyline and the transitory beauty of their relationship. I especially liked his panels showing the two on a flower-bedecked swing in a grassy meadow, and Baby’s dream adventure in the jungle astride a full-sized living Raffie shows a lush tropical paradise complete with waterfall, wild creatures, and darting dragonflies. There’s so much promise for Baby’s futures seen in these panels. And of course, Mama is there beside him, experiencing it all along with him. This is a grand selection for a bedtime story or perhaps just before a nap. Dear Mama's Loving Arms is highly recommended.