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LOVE YOU BY HEART by Peter H. Reynolds


by Peter H. Reynolds ; illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Pub Date: Dec. 7th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-338-78363-6
Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

An adult expresses love for a child.

Two hearts with stick limbs and expressive facial features stand in for an adult and child. The larger heart is red; the smaller heart, usually pink. (It also has “blue days” and green “grumpy days.”) The first page recounts a time seemingly before the child’s birth, the pink heart appearing in a thought bubble above the adult’s head: “I loved you by heart / even before I met you. / I’ve loved you always. / I’ve always loved you.” The book then goes on to explain all the ways—and days—the adult loves the child: “every smile, every blink. / …your toes…head…nose.” Though even small children can understand love and its expression by a parent, Reynolds doesn’t make it easy for readers of this book. The absence of humans in the illustrations and the lack of a storyline will be keenly felt by readers, who may need something more to chew on. And some of the vocabulary may go over the heads of young children: morsel, swoon, triumphs, fumbles. The simple, uncluttered illustrations with white backgrounds and a few extra elements beyond the two hearts highlight the love between the duo, but they don’t make the vocabulary or verses any clearer for little listeners.

On a shelf groaning with I-love-you books, this one would not be missed.

(Picture book. 3-5)