A sweet, lushly illustrated book about a mother bird’s unconditional love for her baby.
Monroe’s debut picture book, in the vein of Sam McBratney’s Guess How Much I Love You (1994), tells the story of a baby bird who asks his mother a series of hypotheticals about how much she loves him. “[W]hat if I roll in the dirt and get mud all over my face and feathers?” he asks, among other similar questions. The mother, of course, reassures the chick repeatedly. When a crisis occurs later in the story and the flock nearly leaves the baby behind, his mother comes through and protects him, proving that she will always love him no matter what. (The conflict is quite minimal, and doesn’t last long enough to frighten smaller children.) Children will likely enjoy reading this book along with a caregiver, and the question-and-answer format makes for a good interactive bedtime story. The illustrations are lovely, with the birds portrayed realistically rather than cartoonishly; the backgrounds have a charming, sketchy quality that calls to mind magazine illustrations of the 1950s and ’60s, and they include small details that may delight younger children. Illustrator Whittaker-Paek conveys motion with vibrant lines uses colors that make the birds appear fluffy and warm. Some of the language is a bit formal for a children’s book; when the mother bird answers her baby’s questions, he is “pleased with his mother’s reply” and “liked his mother’s response,” rather than simply being happy with her answer. However, the prose will introduce small children to longer words and synonyms and won’t detract from a pleasurable reading experience.
A simple, colorful book that will likely make excellent bedtime reading.