With “Love,” author Stacy McAnulty and illustrator Joanne Lew-Vriethoff present images that children will relate to all demonstrating that love has no boundaries, no color barriers, no species barriers, but is all-encompassing.
The text is simple, and the illustrations are bright and colorful. There are people and children and animals of all colors, ages, and species. The first two-page spread features a family busily cooking together. The dad has brown skin, the mom is pale, the kids all have different skin color. The kitchen is a pleasant riot of cooking: cupcakes, casserole, sauce on the stove, pie crust being rolled out, sports equipment on the floor with valentines cards taped on the cabinets. One the floor is a dog holding his food bowl and a cat lazing on a cushion watching the commotion with one open eye. There are yellow heart banners hanging from the ceiling. It’s a room that is perfect, and perfectly filled with food, family, animals, and love. The readers will want to be in that room, sharing that love.
The book explores what love is. It’s a fancy dinner for a dog with a cast on its arm. It’s gifts to those who need one, from a child getting a book to cookies for a senior neighbor and a card for a teacher. Love is a bouquet of hand-picked flowers brought to someone in bed and a Hershey’s kiss offered to a cooking partner.
Love happens in the winter, and in the summer. It can happen in the car while singing along to beautiful melodies or just enjoying a beautiful country view. Throughout the book are illustrations that kids will be able to identify with whether it’s visiting a cat at a shelter or saving a turtle in need. It’s killing a newborn baby and welcoming a new sister who isn’t a baby.
The best message from this lovely book? That love is everywhere and should be shared by everyone.
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Running Press Kids and Media Masters Publicity for review purposes.