Are You My Mother?

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Are You My Mother?
AuthorWritten by:
P. D. Eastman
IllustratorIllustrated by:
P. D. Eastman
CountryUnited States
PublisherRandom House
Publication date
June 12, 1960 (renewed 1988)

Are You My Mother? is a children's book by P. D. Eastman published by Random House Books for Young Readers on June 12, 1960 as part of its Beginner Books series. Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children."[1] It was one of the "Top 100 Picture Books" of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal.[2]

Plot summary[edit]

Are You My Mother? is the story about a hatchling bird (though it's not identified what kind of bird species it is, it's probably a robin or wren). First it starts off with the mother bird who sits on her egg. The mother (after she hears it jump) tells herself that her baby is going to be here and may want to eat. Then, she tells herself she should get something for her baby bird to eat. Then she leaves her egg and hopes it stays in her nest where she left it. She flies off to find food. The baby bird hatches. He does not understand where his mother is so he goes to look for her. Without the ability to fly (as he can not yet fly), he can walk, and during his search, he asks a kitten (who does not speak), a hen, a dog, and a cow if they are his mother, but none of them are.

Refusing to give up, he sees an old car, which he realizes certainly cannot be his mother. In desperation, the hatchling calls out to a boat and a plane (but neither responds), and at last, climbs onto one of the teeth from an enormous power shovel. When he calls it his mother (saying, "Mother! Mother! Here I am, Mother!"), it belches "SNORT" in response from its exhaust stack. This prompts the bird to say, "You are not my mother! You are a Snort! I better get out of here!". As the machine shudders and grinds into motion, he cannot escape. "I want my mother!" he shouts.

At that moment, the Snort drops the baby bird into his nest (to where the baby bird slides down from the Snort easily and into the nest on the tree). The baby bird finally was home. Just then, his mother returns. The two are reunited, much to their delight. The mother bird asks the baby bird if he knows who she is. The baby bird says, "I know who you are. You are not a kitten. You are not a hen. You are not a dog. You are not a cow. You are not a plane, a boat, nor a Snort. You are a bird. And you are my mother".


On August 13, 1991, Are You My Mother? was part of the Beginner Book Video series, directed and produced by Ray Messecar. The cast included Ardys Flavelle, Merwin Goldsmith, Marian Hailey, Ron Marshall, Brendon Parry and Jim Thurman.[3]

ArtsPower National Touring Theatre created an hour-long musical performance based on the book geared for children grades K-2, with music by Richard DeRosa.[4]

Critical reaction[edit]

The book's subjective appeal is derived from a compelling and compact plot full of humorous adventure, aided by line drawings that appeal to young children.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  2. ^ Bird, Elizabeth (July 6, 2012). "Top 100 Picture Books Poll Results". School Library Journal "A Fuse #8 Production" blog. Archived from the original on February 26, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2012.
  3. ^
  4. ^ ArtsPower. "Are You My Mother?". Retrieved 10 June 2013.
  5. ^ Children's Books and Reviews. "Are You My Mother? summary and review". Retrieved 10 June 2013.