By exploring the smell, taste, sound, and feel of love, a cherub and some human children offer young readers a glimpse of what love can look like.
Although the title character’s name borders on saccharine, this volume has a genuine sweetness that’s hard to resist. Certainly, it should please young children, who lack such sophisticated prejudices. Author/illustrator Hall offers up a sampling of the ways we say, “I love you,” in terms that should be accessible to the pre-K crowd. The book avoids smarminess largely on the basis of the charm of its cast of racially diverse children, wide-eyed and smiling with delight at a succession of roses, chocolates, poems, and hugs, all offered by Little Darling, who is white. The kids are adorable, each in a cozy pair of footie pajamas; the winged cherub’s are bright blue with shiny red hearts. The format is simple: “Little Darling knows the smell of love.” Turn the page, and the cherub offers a brown girl with beaded locs a bouquet of flowers. “Little Darling knows the taste of love”; a turn of the page reveals that taste to be chocolates. Poetry represents “the sound of love.” Little Darling’s preferred way to show love is hugging, making this almost a primer on the five senses. Unfortunately, perhaps, there is no mention of consent. Companion title Little Rabbit’s Easter features a brown-skinned child in a purple bunny suit rounding up a troupe of other children in animal onesies.
Appropriate for Valentine’s Day or any day. (Board book. 2-5)