A debut picture book offers a letter to an eagerly awaited child.
The opening words are the work’s title, as an expectant mother sits in a rocking chair, looking fondly at a teddy bear. Accompanied by an image of tiny hands grabbing adult fingers, the text continues: “I loved your tiny hands and couldn’t wait to hold them.” Author Bear continues with each feature of the infant that’s so keenly anticipated: feet to kiss, smiles to see, baby noises to hear, and naps to watch in stillness and admiration. After the baby is born, there is even more love to be shared, and each of those items is revisited. Now the parent addressing the child gets to do, feel, and see all those things described previously. Robinson’s shaded ink drawings feature a variety of diverse parents and babies. The black-and-white art is contrasted with the watercolor backgrounds by Katelyn Bear (the author’s daughter), giving subtle blends of color to the backgrounds, primarily in pastels. While this lacks the sharp juxtaposition supposedly most enticing to infants, the delicate patterns and serene bursts of color are soothing, perfectly matching the comforting tone of the text. The sentences follow a pattern, the first set beginning with “I loved your”; the second, repeating the noun of the first, starts with or includes “I get to.” Those recurring words and activities reinforce the vocabulary for the youngest audiences. The tone of the phrases also gives the listener the sense that whoever is reading the story feels lucky and privileged to have that child as part of the family’s life, to be adored. Despite all the exclamation points, the appealing book creates the lulling message that affection has no limits.
This sweet and gentle bedtime story, reinforced by soft pastel backgrounds and simple ink illustrations, assures young listeners that they have always been surrounded by love.