Mama's Boyz: The Big Picture

Mama’s Boyz: The Big Picture: What You Need to Succeed!
Bk. 3. illus. by author. 112p. Mama’s Boyz. 2010. pap. $9.95.
ISBN 978-0-979-61321-0. LC 2009911740.


REVIEWS for Mama's Boyz: The Big Picture

Library Journal

Stories Beyond Black and White: 25 Graphic Novels for African American History Month

Craft, Jerry. Mama’s Boyz: The Big Picture; What You Need To Succeed! Mama’s Boyz Inc. 2010. 112p. ISBN 9780979613210. pap. $9.95. HUMOR (order from
Lighthearted vignettes with a serious message convey how mundane, day-to-day living habits can affect one’s future. Slacker teen Yusuf Porter blows off his mama’s lifestyle advice but is then visited in his dreams, as in A Christmas Carol, by four phantoms—all versions of his future self. The phantoms counsel him on matters of health, appearance, family, and education and well as general self-esteem and respect for others. The good-natured preachiness is leavened by jokes poking fun at some of the clichés of black culture. The 15-year-old Mama’s Boyz strip is syndicated by King Features.



Review by Jake G., Age 10, NYC

"Mama's Boyz: The Big Picture by Jerry Craft is a great comic strip for anyone, white or black, young or old.  This book showcases some of the best and most funny ways to make fun of the modern age's fashion sense, reliability on electronics, and education.  The three biggest characters are Tyrell, Yusuf, and their Mom, who are the most hilarious modern day family that there is." 


Review by Yuuki R., 5th grader, Ithaca NY 


My favorite chapter of Mama’s Boyz was Chapter 5: (What You Need to Succeed is to) "Git a Educashun!" I liked it because the ending of the chapter was really funny with all of the phantoms of Yusuf.  My favorite phantoms were the Phantom of Finances and the Phantom of Knowing Your Roots, because they were funny. 

Carla’s joke about never starting a book so she never has to finish them was really funny, too!  But I would hate to live like that because I wouldn’t know a lot of things, and life would be a lot duller, if I don’t read books.

I liked the joke about the English muffins and the mispronounced “breakfast.”  Yusuf mispronounces “breakfast” as ‘breffix.” His mom gives Yusuf English muffins for “breffix” as he would say. =)

The chapter with Yusuf`s homework schedule was really funny too! Yusuf barely does any homework and gets away with it!  I wouldn’t do that! I would get in a lot of trouble! Because I don’t use my computer to study, I can’t pretend as if I’m studying while I’m doing my homework on a computer like Yusuf does.

I liked the first chapter on a Health Fair and it was fun when they tried to escape from the health fair.  They couldn’t get away because there wasn’t an elevator! :] There were stairs at the Health Fair but Yusuf and Co. couldn’t get away because they were too lazy to use them! And that’s how they were forced to learn about healthy foods! (Gasp!) To stay healthy I like to eat yogurt and granola with blueberries.

Actually Yusuf looks pretty healthy to me!

I really enjoyed the book and it teaches you stuff, so I think everyone should read it!!=)




"Overall, I enjoyed MAMA’S BOYZ: THE BIG PICTURE: What You Need to Succeed! and I know many children and teens will learn the lesson that they have to look at the big picture when making even the simple decisions in life.   Jerry Craft did a great job pointing this out with lighthearted dialogue that wasn’t too preachy, especially when it came to baggy clothing and exercise or lack thereof.  I also enjoyed the extra tidbits in the book referred to as Crafty comments.
— Tawana Price of The RAWSISTAZ™ Reviewers
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"The messages are sound, though, and those looking for a mild moral delivery system that’s coupled with some brief inspirational bits about cartooning will find it here.
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Mama's Boyz: Home Schoolin' MAMA'S BOYZ: HOME SCHOOLIN'
Author: Jerry Craft
ISBN: 978-0-9796132-0-3
Pages: 112, 11 x 8.5
Price: $9.95

Mama's Boyz: Home Schoolin' is a great way to get kids and young adults to read. And it's also great for you really big kids who love reading comic strips as much as I do. Whether your kids are African American, or not, it's important for them to see "us" in a positive light. So much of what folks see of our race is based on depicting us in a negative, violent, and less than equal manner. Mama's Boyz: Home Schoolin' is a POSITIVE depiction of African-American life! But don't just take my word on it, check out these reviews:

Comics in the Classroom

Florida Weekly


"Jerry has 'crafted' a book of his comic strips chock full of real people and poignant messages.  Accessible to everyone, it provides hours of discussion between those young and older, across ages, races, and other 'borders' both real and imagined. Right there along with an apple a day, try a comic strip a day! -- Elise Klein , President and Founder, Teachers Against Prejudice

Mixing down-home wit with traditional values, Jerry Craft presents a colorful reflection of African-American life that the whole family can enjoy. -- Angela Burt-Murray, Editor-In-Chief, Essence Magazine

Craft's quick wit, artistic skill and deft use of youthful language to bring out life lessons are sure to capture a young person's interest. -- Pamela Toussaint, Author of Great Books For African American Children

Jerry Craft is one of the finest cartoonists and professionals in the business. It is a pleasure to have him as part of the Chicken Soup Series. -- Lisa Nichols, The Secret and Coauthor of Chicken Soup for the African American Soul and Chicken Soup for the African American Woman's Soul

Mama's Boyz is one of my favorite comic strips. Not only do I love to follow Mom and the Boyz as they work in their family bookstore, but I also appreciate how it supports writers and literacy. I even got to appear in a story. How cool is that?! -- Eric Jerome Dickey, NY Times and Essence Magazine best-selling author

"...Your book in my opinion is an educational tool (that also gives immense pleasure as it is truly funny) that I am truly grateful to have found. It is the only book of this nature. My kids are not only reading religiously now but they are learning while having a good time. It is something we are sharing as a family..." --- A Mom

"His sense of humor, his clean, confident lines and the warmth he conveys in his work are an invitation to see life through his eyes - and I love what I see!! Mama's Boyz feels like 'home.'"
--Lynn Johnston (For Better or For Worse)


Kid reviews

The new book is great! It is really funny and I like how you went month-by-month. The dancing Yusuf in the corner was also cool... and clever. Nice!
-- Peter E., age 12, Westport, CT

I really liked this book. You can learn a lot from it and it is easy to relate to the characters, which is good. That means you wrote this very well. Keep writing, you can go far.
-- Dani B., age 10, Norwalk, CT

I thought this book was extremely funny and enjoyable. The characters were funny and had cool personalities. It was very educational and the drawing part made me feel like drawing is fun and easy. I can't wait to see the book in stores!
-- Davie B., age 11, Norwalk, CT

My Auntie had given the first book he did to my sister for her birthday three years ago. She never let me read it when she wasn't in the room because the stories were so good and funny. Now I am definitely old enough to take care of it and she passed it on because she's a big teenager now. Well I am getting the new book when it comes out and Mom says I'll have' two classics from Mr. Craft' that I can share and teach lessons to my younger cousins with!
-- Jourdain D. age 10, Smyrna, DE

Hi!!!! I read your book Mama's Boyz Home Schooln'. I could not put it down. I finished it in 3 days. How can I get your other books?????!!!!! Your book is educational and funny. I do not usually like comic books but I LOVED yours. I got the first one at a Jack & Jill event.

-- Shamsa D, NYC, NY