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
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
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!