Clayton, the former self-publishing phenom, continues his series of books about awesomely big concepts. Here, he proclaims and exalts love in language best described as rhyming stream of consciousness.
As in An Awesome Book (2012), the author’s voice is both intimate and enthusiastic, as if speaking to a child: “AND WHEN I’M BESIDE YOU I’M LEAPING AND BOUNDING / SO PROUD I CAN HARDLY CONTAIN MY HEART POUNDING.” As the verse goes from playfully fantastical imagery to (hopefully) tongue-in-cheek greeting-card doggerel, ultimately this title begs the question, who is this for? It’s a bit too kooky for emerging readers and a tad rambling for middle graders, and the all-uppercase text, which lacks punctuation, makes for a challenging read-aloud. The illustrations may be this title’s best hook with kids since they are full of detail and have an accessible, childlike quality. Still, readers may come away from it wondering if this is a truly sincere attempt to “SHARE THE LOVE” or a rather hokey effort that is riding the wave of previous titles’ popularity.
As with most books that have an inherent tension within, readers will either enthusiastically respond to this title, with its outsider, hipster vibe, or pass due to its lack of polish and resistance to easily fitting into any single reader category. (Picture book. All ages)