Watts, “Once There Was A Mom” (reviewed by Kristie Wilkins)


Title: Once There Was A Mom
Author: Emily Watts
Publisher: Deseret Book
Genre: Fiction
Year Published: 2017
Number of Pages: 44
Binding: Hardbound
ISBN13: 9781629723075
Price: $12.99

Reviewed by Kristie Wilkins for the Association for Mormon Letters

Anyone who is or has been granted the title of “Mother,” no matter their particular role, understands the tremendous highs and agonizing lows of mothering those they love. Many of the most poignant struggles of motherhood are universally felt across all generations, races, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds, the most significant being the constant worry that you have not done enough. The beauty and real yearning behind the question “Was it enough?” is uniquely and sincerely captured and answered in Emily Watts’ new book “Once There Was a Mother.” [p. 34]

This delightful little book arrived in the mail and was instantly a hit with my children. With a timeless title that pulls in all good story lovers and a bright pink cover, the wrestle over who got to read the book with mom immediately ensued.

“Once There Was a Mom” is a picture book with unique and simple illustrations by Destin Cox. Sister Watts is already an expert storyteller. Her style of approaching real and significant issues relating to motherhood, with wisdom and a wonderful sense of humor, really shines in this book. Although it is written and illustrated as a picture book, don’t let the simplicity of the book itself fool you — this book is packed with thoughts, feelings and emotions that all those with mother hearts can relate to.

I loved the illustrations by Destin Cox. He has a very definite style to his art and he is able to convey a lot in very simple illustrations. I was impressed by the amount of emotion that his pictures conveyed — the exhaustion of a long day, frustration, joy, the tender moments, the demands, the tears, the moments of reflection and self doubt were all there on the page adding volumes to the simple words of the story.

I am not sure if it was the particular day or just the power of the way in which Sister Watts approached the subject but I was profoundly impacted by the analogy she uses at the end of the book to answer the question, “Was it enough?” Without giving away the most beautiful part of the book I will say that I have spent hours pondering her analogy and have received a lot of comfort and strength from it.

If you have someone in your life who is experiencing the ups and downs of motherhood at any stage, I encourage you to sit down and share “Once There Was a Mother” with her. Just let her read it and give her a hug. It will make all the difference in the world.

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