Paul and Walker team up again to present the youngest listeners with an “I love you” book.
Their previous book If Animals Kissed Good Night (2008) looked at the various ways parents might smooch their little ones and both emphasized the animals’ physical traits and provided names for their young. This latest does the former (partially) with regard to animals’ actions but, sadly, not the latter. The verses remain bouncy and fun to read aloud, however; in answering the titular prompt, “Secretary bird would type with claw feet / warm, tender words with a click-clack beat,” and “Impala would speak with a leapity-leap. / ‘I love you, my grandchild, a heapity-heap.’ ” Love isn’t reserved for just parent and child: siblings, cousins, and friends also get in on the act. Walker’s adorable animals freely share their love, a gorilla and infant appearing multiple times throughout; the book ends with them snuggled together asleep. Other animals include whale, boa, lion, cheetah, spider, ostrich, and alligator. Only one shows a grouping that could be construed as a nuclear family of two parents and children.
Surely adult and child pairs reading this together will find ways to mimic the animals’ ways of expressing their love: blowing bubbles and splashing in the tub, a boa-like “squish-hugging squeeze,” and playful wrestling. (Picture book. 2-6)