That’s Not Your Mommy Anymore
By Matt Mogk
Illustrated by Aja Wells
Available on Amazon
I had to ask myself, “Would I buy this for Bethanista on her birthday?”
Bethanista is a cool girl who likes zombies, fairies, dancing and ice cream. She’s also seven. When after her mother bought Plants v. Zombies, Bethanista interest in the undead sparked and took off.
So when reading That’s Not Your Mommy Anymore, written by Matt Mogk and illustrated by Aja Wells, I had to consider if this would make a good present for Ms. Bethanista. She is the intended audience’s age, I suppose, though I can see how the novelty of this book would appeal to grown-ups.
(Full Disclosure, a copy of Dog Train by Sandra Boynton sits on my shelf, a gift I got because The Phenomenauts had a song on the CD that came with it. You’re never too old for a book.)
If your kid is cool enough, That’s Not Your Mommy Anymore is a great gift. I wouldn’t recommend it for any child at the age where they don’t have an abstract of the concept of death. This book, however, is perfect for kids who are into things that are scary, spooky and creepy.
Matt Mogk is the founder & Head Researcher at the Zombie Research Society (Full website here, the ZRS blog, and their presence over on Facebook.) If anyone would be fitted to write a children’s book about zombies, it would be him.
In writing, Matt Mogk shows some skill with a dexterous rhyme set. In the first scant eight lines, paired with Aja Well’s full page illustrations, Mogk establishes what makes a “Mommy,” expressing the acts and emotions of a loving caretaker. But as quickly as he sets up what makes a Mommy, Mogk draws a clear distinction, indicating that when she’s a zombie, that is indeed not your mommy anymore.
That’s Not Your Mommy Anymore is a book that acts as a warning. Never does it instruct children to combat their parents – no “go to the gun closet, lickety-split/and grab your father’s big boomstick.” I think children reading this book will not act out against their parents. It’s more of a precautionary tale that warns against a ‘zombie threat,’ than an instruction of how to combat it. Instead, it advises the children to hide, be smart and avoid the danger. These lessons can be easily transferred over to something more predominant (i.e. “real”) in a child’s life.
Aja Wells’ illustrations are playful and contain a sort of disarming whimsy, perfect for a children’s book. While the subject matter warns against the threat, a child reading this won’t be scared too much by the depictions of all types of zombies and acts of gore. Nothing appears ghoulish or grotesque enough to inflict nightmares. Still, Wells does a great job at managing the balance between horror of the subject and the gentile nature of the book’s intended audience.
I think it’s a really good book, and spooky parents reading it to their kids will have some hidden Easter eggs for themselves. From a spooky standpoint, it’s a great book. The language is clear enough that those learning to read could make their way through it and those with some skills would not get stuck on an indiscernible world, such like “indiscernible.”
Overall, it’s a good book. If Bethanista is still into zombies by the time her birthday rolls around, I might consider it. Though, with the way she’s taking to reading, she might ask for a copy of World War Z instead. I’ll talk to her mother about it. For everyone else, I say That’s Not Your Mommy Anymore is the children’s zombie book you’ve been asking for.