Title: No Mush Today
Author: Sally Derby
Illustrator: Nicole Tadgell
Publisher: Lee & Low Books
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level: 1.7
Concepts: tradeoffs, opportunity cost, wants and needs, care provision
Review: Nonie is fed up with her baby brother’s crying and with the cornmeal mush served at breakfast. She decides she wants to leave her family and live with Grandma next door, because at least Grandma pays attention to her and prepares better food. But later that day at the church picnic when Grandma just wants to sit, Nonie cannot resist her father’s offer of a paddleboat ride and a push on the swings. Nonie and her dad see a group of ducklings swimming with their parents, and Nonie reconsiders living at home with her family.
No Mush Today may appear to have a simple premise, but underneath the surface is an important lesson about the time demands of providing care for children. Caring for a new baby is particularly time consuming, and as the older sibling, Nonie feels she is bearing the cost when her parents are less attentive to her own wants and needs. Going to live with Grandma seems appealing, but Nonie soon realizes that there are tradeoffs when she misses her family. The rich illustrations add emotional depth to this engaging story.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children