Let’s make one thing clear. Objectifying women isn’t cool. Rating women based on their looks is terrible. Being a sexist, misogynist dad — or dude — sucks. (Don’t agree? Please go away.) That said, it’s also undeniable that in the sleepless days of early fatherhood many fathers find themselves doing unexpected double takes. “That animated deer’s voice has a certain come-hither quality,” an exhausted dad slurs to himself. “And how is Ms. Frizzle single?”
And when it comes to the women of children’s literature, the picture books foldouts men see and re-see nightly, things get doubly weird. Moms in kids books are attractive — really attractive — in an ineffable but undeniable way. They’re so present! They’re so good at picking flowers! They can talk to animals! To pervert Jessica Rabbit’s famous line, “They’re not good, they’re just drawn that way.” And it’s hard when you haven’t slept for 20 hours and you’re rereading a rhyme for the 34th time, not to notice.
So, no, this isn’t exactly a list of Maxim-style kid lit sex symbols. It’s a list of very attentive fictional and largely non-human mothers who dance in my mind when I finally fall asleep after re-reading my kid’s favorite books over and over and over again.
8.The Quiet Old Lady From "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown
How does she disappear from that rocking chair at the end of the story? Why did she decorate the room that way? Can she control the moon? The more she says “hush” the more we want to know about what she does in her free time. She’s a bunny. And this book was published in 1947. Did she know Hugh Hefner?
7.Mama Bear in "Goodnight, Little Bear" by Richard Scarry
Richard Scarry says Mama Bear in this story “loves a good joke” that “she is a tease.” Because this book is co-written by Scarry’s wife, Patricia Murphy, you have to wonder if the whole thing isn’t just a metaphor for some old school furry roleplay. If so, good for them.
6. Kate Murry From "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle
Kate Murry is a mom dads love because she really, really believes her missing scientist husband didn’t just skip out on her and the family. She knows he’s been abducted by creepy aliens in another dimension because she would never even consider that he might have “gone out for a smoke.” That is hot. Loyalty is hot. Mrs. Murry stuck by Mr. Murry decades before he looked like Chris Pine. What a lady!
5.Kanga From"House at Pooh Corner" by A A. Milne
Yep! It’s another non-human mom! Look, I’m really only re-reading the chapter books for myself, and when it comes to books your read really little kids, there aren’t a lot of humans in them. But that’s okay because Kanga from the Winnie-the-Pooh books is great.
Kanga’s hotness stems from not giving a shit about any of the other idiots in the Hundred Acre Wood. Rabbit or Pooh can usually get most of the other animals in on some real stupid shit involving trying to find Heffalumps or ditching Tiger in the woods. Not Kanga. She’s aloof. She’s her own lady. Kanga just does her and takes real good care of Ru.
4. Molly Weasley From All Those Harry Potter Books by J.K. Rowling
Remember when she called Bellatrix Lestrange a “bitch” in book seven? Fuck yeah, Molly Weasley!
3.Sal’s Mom From "Blueberries For Sal" by Robert McCloskey*
She cans blueberries. She reassures her daughter that a loose tooth is nothing to worry about. She goes face-to-face with bears and doesn’t break a sweat. And in the opening pages of Blueberries for Sal, she looks right at you, the reader, with a look that says, Yah, you wish. (Note: My wife looks sufficiently enough like the Sal’s mom in Blueberries For Sal that our daughter points and says “mama” when she sees this character. I look nothing like Sal’s dad, and I hate that motherfucker. I mean, he digs for clams, rows a boat and fixes a motor all in like ten pages. I write words on the internet and forgot how to sleep six months ago.)
2.Beatrice Baudelaire From "A Series of Unfortunate Events" by Lemony Snicket
You know the late mother of the Baudelaire orphans — Beatrice Baudelaire — was a heartbreaker. Not only did she marry the father of Klaus, Sunny and Violet, but she also managed to break Lemony Snicket’s heart. Literally, every book in the original Series of Unfortunate Events is dedicated to her. In the Netflix show, we are told she wore a dragonfly outfit to a costume ball, and that the wings on the costume actually worked. I’m imagining a sort of young Bellatrix Lestrange, which works for me even if Molly Weasley wouldn’t approve.
(Pictured: the Cobie Smulders as the mom of the Quagmire Triplets who everyone thought was Beatrice during the first season of the Netflix show. Yeah, I know about these things. Allison Williams isn’t playing their mom in season 3 either. DM me. I’ll explain it.)
1.The Mom From "The Cat in The Hat" by Dr. Seuss
Where is the mom in The Cat in the Hat? All the narrator tells us is that she left him and Sally in the house the day the Cat in the Hat showed up and unleashed Thing 1 and Thing 2. Then she comes back at the end of the story and all we see is her shapely leg and her shoe. That’s an entrance right there. And no, she’s not going to tell you where she went. She’s got secrets. She’s as twisted as the neat little bow on the tip of her shoe. (Good lord, I’m tired.)