When Mama Comes Home Tonight

Common Sense Media says

Good book for the end of a hectic day.





What parents need to know

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that timeless, old-fashioned illustrations move a reader through a comforting, rhyming text. Young children see themselves in this simple story.

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What's the story?

A mother and her child celebrate that special time between homecoming and bedtime. Calming illustrations capture universal rituals of snuggling, playing, eating, bathing, a bedtime story, and a lullaby song. Children and their working parents will find this ideal environment comforting.

Is it any good?


Don't all parents and toddlers wish bedtime went this smoothly! Although the rituals are romanticized -- devoid of tantrums or battles of wills -- children will love the tenderness and safety this story provides. The simple, flowing text encourages children, even those with limited language skills, to repeat rhyming words and peaceful passages. Child and parent model calm behaviors for readers to emulate.

Pastel watercolor and color-pencil illustrations set the mood of gentleness and serenity. They have an old-fashioned appeal, like the paintings of Mary Cassatt. There is sweetness to the story, and the illustrations will have parent and child returning time and again to this book for role modeling and comfort at the end of a hectic day.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about their evening rituals before bedtime. What's your favorite part about getting ready for bed?

Book details

Author:Eileen Spinelli
Illustrator:Jane Dyer
Genre:Family Life
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon & Schuster
Publication date:January 1, 1998
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):2 - 4

This review of When Mama Comes Home Tonight was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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