Mama's Going to Buy You a Mockingbird


213 pages
ISBN 0-670-80346-4





Reviewed by Joan McGrath

Joan McGrath is a Toronto Board of Education library consultant.


Jeremy is doing his very best to behave in a semi-adult fashion. After all, he is going into Grade Six next school term, and he’s four years older than his little sister Sarah. Just the same, it’s difficult to remember to act like a grown up all the time, when your whole world is in disarray. Dad is sick in hospital; Mum is preoccupied and unhappy; Jeremy and Sarah have to spend their summer with an aunt who is all right, but just not like Mum; and Jeremy’s friends have moved away. Life seems pretty bleak, but all these woes pale into insignificance when Jeremy learns that Dad isn’t merely ill but is dying of cancer, and that he, Jeremy, will have to become the man of the family. From now on he will have to help his mother as well as rely upon her love and support. Jean Little’s sensitive story of a lad suddenly burdened by troubles too heavy for his years, yet gamely doing his best to shoulder them, is one of her best yet. The final chapter, in which the young boy, heavy with his own sadness, reaches out to uplift rather than to lean upon his beloved Mum, is a special moment.



Little, Jean, “Mama's Going to Buy You a Mockingbird,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed December 3, 2021,