Mama's Saris
By Pooja Makhijani

Review by Sandhya Nankani
From Kahani Spring 2007

As a little girl, I loved to play dress-up with my older sister. We would steal my grandmother’s dupattas and drape the cloths around ourselves, imitating our favorite Bollywood actresses. Wearing a sari and all the accessories that went with it—bindis, bangles, and strappy sandals—made us feel grownup and glamorous. It still does!

All my childhood memories came flooding back when I read Mama’s Saris (Little, Brown Young Readers, 2007), Pooja Makhijani’s dazzling new picture book about a young girl whose dress-up dreams come true. The pages of this book dance with color and spin with sparkly designs—thanks to Elena Gomez’s paintings that showcase the beauty of a timeless Indian dress.

In Mama’s Saris, we meet a young girl who oh-so-wishes she could wear a sari to her seventh birthday party. As her mother unpacks her favorite saris from a suitcase, she begs, “Mama, when can I wear a sari?” Mama replies, “When you’re older.”

As Mama pulls sari after sari out from the suitcase, the birthday girl begins to discover that every sari tells a special story—of Nanima’s sandalwood soap, of Diwali celebrations, and of Mama’s life. Some saris “sparkle like the night sky” and others glow like the “afternoon sun.”

The young girl’s “Mary Janes and corduroy jumper” make her feel “so plain.” She wants to be beautiful too. “I am old enough to wear a sari, just like you!” she tells Mama. “I don’t need a night-light … and I can pour my own glass of milk … without spilling anything!”
The birthday girl’s words melt Mama’s heart and together, the two of them play the best kind of dress-up game—a real one!

Mama’s Saris is a touching tale about growing up and about every young girl’s dream of following in her mother’s footsteps. Snuggle up and read it with your Mama. Then ask her to open her suitcase of saris and tell you a story about each one!