chapter  4
The Apple of Her Eye: The Mothering Ideology Fed by Best-selling Trade Picture Books
Pages 16

Nancy Chodorow in her infl uential 1978 text The Reproduction of Mothering explains: “Women in their domestic role . . . reproduce themselves as mothers, emotionally and psychologically, in the next generation” (209). The signifi cant role of children’s books in the reproduction of patriarchal mothering, although obvious to most children’s literature scholars, remains unquestioned by the millions of book buyers and readers who make momism a perpetual best seller. A quick search on will demonstrate the prolifi c appeal of what Horn Book editor Roger Sutton calls “I-Love-Baby-and-Baby-Loves-Me books” produced by and for adults, to be shared with precious young children (228). These books, while making mothers feel good about themselves, also help shape the child’s lifelong expectations of mythically “good” mothers.