Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Why Do I Have to Make My Bed?Or, the history of messy rooms

Why Do I Have to Make My Bed?Or, the history of messy rooms

Wade Bradford
Illustrator:  Johanna van der Sterre 
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 6
Tricycle Press, 2011   ISBN: 978-1582463278

One day a little boy asks his mother, “Why do I have to make my bed?” He has done all his other chores and he does not understand why he has to make his bed if it is “just going to get messed up again.”

In response to this question, the little boy’s mother tells him that his question reminds her of a story about his grandmother. When she was little, the little boy’s grandmother did all her chores but she complained about having to make her bed. Her mother told her that she is not the only one to complain about having to make her bed; her grandfather did the exact same thing! After fetching water from the pump, dusting the phonograph, and picking up his toys he asked his mother, “Pray tell, Mother, why do I have to make my bed?”

Generations of children in the little boy’s family have asked this question over the years. A girl in 1801 asks the question, a boy in 1762 asks the question, a girl in 1630 asks the question, and so it goes until a boy in 40,000 B.C. asks “Why me have to make bed?” What will his mother say?

This amusing picture book explores the idea that some things never change. For hundreds and hundreds of years children have complained about having to make their beds, and for hundreds of years their mothers have been giving them the same answer.

At the back of this book, the author provides his readers will information about Chores Through the Ages, which will show children that the chores that they do now, in the 21st century, are a great deal easier than the ones that their ancestors had to do. Imagine having to plow fields, carry water from the pump or river, and collect cattle droppings to use as fuel for a fire! Perhaps making a bed is not so bad after all.