Various anthropomorphic animals share with a child what they love most about themselves.
Instead of a celebration of self, though, the book becomes more of a I-love-this-about-myself-because-it-has-to-do-with-you affair. When whispered into the ear of a bulldog, the titular question is answered, “I love my ears because your whispers tickle.” And a flamingo responds, “I love my legs because I get a kick out of you.” A chipmunk’s cheeks are great for blowing kisses, while a giraffe’s neck can reach the stars. Some of the replies may cause some head-scratching: the whale says its spout is its favorite, “because singing in the rain makes me happy.” The child stands beside the whale (who is evidently standing upright on its flukes) holding an umbrella. And the ending leaves things very unfinished for readers. The narrator looks at the white cat that has appeared throughout in the various scenes and now sits atop a pile of stuffed animals that corresponds to all the animals in the book and says, “What do I love about me? // I love my…self. // And I love you.” Plain, pastel-colored backgrounds keep the focus on the animals and the child, who has straight, dark hair in a neat bob and light brown skin in the spare Photoshopped illustrations.
Rather than building self-esteem, this book seems to be sending the troubling message that it is constructed through a child’s relationships to others. (Picture book. 4-7)