The story, written in rhythmic verse, describes a mother who must leave her family to go and work away. It covers the preparations for her departure, the time she is away, and her home-coming. Her daughter narrates the story.
The family in the book are non-threatening ‘alien-like’ creatures with green skin and antennae. The illustrator (Emma Yarlett) has skilfully depicted a vast ocean to symbolise the distance between the mother and her family. The family live in a beach house on the shore, and when the mother leaves she sets out across the waves in a tiny kayak.
The family are shown making preparations for the Mum’s trip. They help her to pack and prepare keepsakes and letters for her to take with her (to remind her of how much she is loved).
After Mum’s departure, Daddy is ‘safely at the helm’ and the family have lots of imaginative playtime. They keep in touch with letters and emails, but the story acknowledges that there’s a ‘piece of the family puzzle missing’ without Mummy there. The daughter describes how brilliant she thinks Mummy is, and how many people she is helping at work.
The children mark the time passing by eating a jelly bean from a jar for each day Mummy is away.
‘Turning like the tide’, suddenly it’s almost time for Mummy to come home, and the family make preparations for a welcome party. Soon she’s home and receives plenty of hugs and kisses.
This is a very positive and comforting book, and the love felt between the family members really shines out in the words and pictures. The illustrations, that are similar in style to those of the very popular author and illustrator Oliver Jeffers, are very appealing.