ALL THE THINGS I LOVE ABOUT YOU

The Mommy-loves-her-young-’un genre is so jam-packed that new entries need to really shine in order to find a place, and this one doesn’t. Rhapsodizing about her young son’s ways, this mother finds her boy so adorable that her first-person narration, though she addresses it directly to her son as “you,” may be more likely to hit the sweet spot for doting parents than little readers. His activities—messy eating, running around naked (no frontal view), “play[ing] with Papa,” hugging, laughing—are presented as simultaneously typical and precious. Some pages will amuse kids, such as the text and funny picture for “I love the way your hair looks in the morning,” while others take too long a view (“I love how every day you grow just a little more…”) or wax too sentimentally metaphorical (“I love the feel of your heartbeat / as if you have a butterfly fluttering in your insides”) to engage tots. Illustrations feel somewhat strained, the figures’ outlines too sketch-like to be anchoring but too heavy to successfully convey motion. Disappointingly bland; Pham has done much better. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-06-199029-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 25, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2010

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It’s nothing new, but it’s also clearly heartfelt.

LOVE YOU MORE

A love song from parents to their child.

This title will seem quite similar to the many others about parents’ deep love for their children. The text is wholly composed of first-person declarations of parental love, and it’s juxtaposed with illustrations of the child with one or both parents. It’s not always clear who the “I” speaking is, and there are a few pages that instead use “we.” Most sentences begin with “I love you more” phrasing to communicate that nothing could undermine parental love: “I love you more than all the sleepless nights…and all the early, tired mornings.” The accompanying pictures depict the child as a baby with weary parents. Later spreads show the child growing up, and the phrasing shifts away from the challenges of parenting to its joys and to attempts to quantify love: “I love you more than all the blades of grass at the park…and all the soccer that we played.” Throughout, Bell’s illustrations use pastel tones and soft visual texture to depict cozy, wholesome scenes that are largely redundant of the straightforward, warm text. They feature a brown-haired family with a mother, father, and child, who all appear to be white (though the father has skin that’s a shade darker than the others’).

It’s nothing new, but it’s also clearly heartfelt. (Picture book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0652-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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A must-read for mothers of young children (and their kids, too).

MAMA NEEDS A MINUTE

The story shows all of the ways a mother loves and cares for her children while also needing to take care of herself.

Sloan writes what mothers feel: “This mama needs a minute.” There are books that prepare children for their first day of school, potty training, siblings, and many of life’s earliest milestones. In that tradition, Sloan’s book shows kids how mothers can both love and care for them and also need a little space. She writes, “It doesn’t mean I love you less. Sometimes it just means Mama needs to get dressed.” Truer words have never been written. Sloan simultaneously affirms a mother’s love while also deftly explaining that it’s OK for love to need boundaries—for parents, yes, but also for kids. The comics-style illustrations hit home, like the stubble-legged mama trying to snag a minute to shower. This goes beyond ringing chords with adult readers; it also provides concrete examples of when mama needs that minute. The palette includes pinks, greens, and bright blues, and all of the characters have skin of many nonhuman colors; hair is likewise fancifully colored but always straight. Many of the moms have visible tattoos, a refreshingly realistic detail.

A must-read for mothers of young children (and their kids, too). (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5248-5457-7

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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