Readers follow four children through difficult times as the unnamed narrator describes the “love umbrella” that is above each of them.
“Up in the sky, among the stars / There’s something you might not see… // But over your head and just above / There’s an umbrella of my love / To show it’s you I’m thinking of / Wherever you might be.” The first-person narrator, though never revealed, is clearly each loved one who shelters and soothes. The four children—Joe, Brian, Grace, and Izzy—are racially diverse, as are their families, and are introduced opposite the title page, giving readers a mission: to count the umbrellas they find (no answer is revealed). They face scary shadows, friends that don’t share, shyness, moving, and such everyday childhood issues as wet pants, a lost tooth, and a parent’s rushing them. No worry can last under a love umbrella, but Bell may reach too far when she writes, “I will never not be near / Holding our love umbrella.” For children whose caregivers are absent, for whatever reason, the titular concept may ring false or cause pain. Colpoys’ striking illustrations, which combine an earth palette with day-glo highlights, effectively show love umbrellas both imagined (stars in the sky, a cloud) and real (a beach umbrella, a rain umbrella, a sun shade).
Less tangible than a kissing hand, though it may prove comforting for some. (Picture book. 3-7)