My Name is Rebecca Romm, Named after My Mother’s Mom
Rachel Levy Lesser
No. Pages: 32 Ages: 4 to 8
Back Cover: Rebecca Elizabeth Romm was named after her late grandmother Rebecca. She is annoyed when everyone compares her to her mother’s mom, because all she wants is a name of her own. That changes when Rebecca’s teacher assigns the class a research project on their names. Rebecca soon learns that most of her classmates were named after special people: some after family members like her, others after leaders, pioneers, musicians and even places.
Rebecca does not like her name. She does not like having her grandmother’s name. Rebecca is tired of people always talking about her grandmother when they see Rebecca. She wants a name that is just hers. Even looking like her grandmother annoys Rebecca.
At school, Rebecca’s newest assignment is a report on their own name. Rebecca is none too happy about this assignment. She has heard the stories and does not want to hear them again. The next day at school, Rebecca is surprised when all her classmates are named after someone or something.
Dani was named after her grandmother Dina.
Nora was chosen for her cousin Nina.
Lucy came from her dear Uncle Lou.
And Joey was short for an old Joseph too.
Rebecca realizes that having someone else’s name could be a good thing. If her classmates are a good sample, passing names on to others happens more than not. Rebecca begins to appreciate stories of mom’s mom. No longer does she want a name of her own. She discovers she can carry her grandmother’s name and still be unique.
I had debated whether to review My Name is Rebecca Romm because it is mostly pages of rhyming names. The rhyming often felt forced. It is not an enjoyable read. Writing it without trying to rhyme might have greatly helped. Keeping a constant meter from verse to verse, with only an occasional extra beat, is a difficult thing to write. The flow must be correct. The beats must be correct from line to line. For me, this did not work.
A few lines stuck on my tongue. The words would be flowing nicely and then BAM! an odd word is thrown in or taken out. The paired sentences once split onto two pages. Reading the first line at the end of one verse just clunked. It fell flat. The paired sentence starts the next verse; “Oh, there it is.” I do not like stopping. It is like driving in a neighborhood with speed bumps you do not know are there. At the first bump, you bounce over it—probably say something to yourself—then slowly drive the rest of the way, looking for more bumps. Annoying.
I do appreciate the story’s theme. Kids want their own identity. They do not want to be just like Cousin Mary or Uncle George. That can feel like walking in a constant shadow. Kids do not generally like this. They want to be themselves with their own likes, dislikes, not what grandma liked. In Rebecca’s case, she wanted her own name. This was her freedom to be herself. After finding that her classmates are named after someone, Rebecca changes her stance, realizing her name is not what makes her unique.
The illustrations look like watercolors. The biography blurb in the back states Ms. Lee works mainly in digital (Photoshop, Illustrator). If these illustrations combine the two mediums, the watercolors are more evident in Rebecca’s room, which has soft, light colors. Brighter, more solid colors are used at the school. Rebecca’s expressions also lighten as the story progresses. The illustrations were nice. They told the story without getting in the way of the text.
My Name is Rebecca Romm is a nice book for children who do not like their name. In the end, Rebecca came to realize she was unique, despite a non-unique name. The back cover states this book is “a meaningful story about love, self-acceptance, and family values.” I might be missing something. I agree this story is about self-acceptance, to which I would add self-esteem, and identity. Family values from names—no. It can, but the story never takes that route. Love could fall under self-acceptance.
I wish I could recommend My Name is Rebecca Romm. Maybe you can. This is only an opinion piece, one person’s thoughts—mine. Please do not pass up a book simply because I could not recommend it. Take a look for your self and then decide. Listed below are other reviews to give you a better look into this book.
Author’s Home Town Paper: http://newtown-pa.patch.com/articles/local-author-pens-book-of-daughter-s-name
Found Marbles: http://www.foundthemarbles.com/2012/08/whats-in-a-namesake/
Author: Rachel Levy Lesser website Illustrator: Sunny Lee website Publisher: (SP)Laredo Publishing website Release Date: May 30, 2012 ISBN: 978-1-56492-386-8 Number of Pages: 32 Ages: 4 to 8
Copyright © 2012 Suny Lee and Rachel Levy Lesser, used with permission