Real love is expressed through the many seemingly small acts that take place every day.
Brown uses textured paper to create digital collages that show bear, bunny and fox families engaged in a wide range of activities. Usually, an older or bigger animal is helping or playing with a younger or smaller one. Occasionally, the younger ones assist one another, as in climbing a tree or untangling knotted fur. Playing hide–and-seek, applying a bandage, freeing a kite from a tree and tying shoelaces are some gestures of real love. Lawler, perhaps in an attempt to stay true to the rhyme structure, provides at least one singularly odd example: “Love plays lion in a crouch / and snuggles closer on the couch.” One side of the spread shows a young bunny about to pounce on the ball of yarn his mother is knitting from, while the next page features the two side by side with the little rabbit curled up under a blanket. In the end, the message is clear: “Love does all these little things / to fill your heart until it sings. / Love is real the whole day through. / It’s always there— // from me to you.” Although the art may charm the preschool set, the saccharine and singsong text fall flat.
An admirable message delivered in a lackluster manner—pass. (Picture book. 3-5)