A celebratory proclamation of ultra-inclusive self-love.

I LOVE ME!

“I love me from the tip of my nose / all the way down to my ticklish toes.”

Using simple rhyming text with the title as a refrain, this book proclaims various assertions of body positivity. Though there’s a hint at inner worth (“how I share my heart within”), physical features are the main focus here. The text calls out the beauty of many parts of the body, while a diverse ever changing cast of characters with wide, bright smiles perform various activities. The illustrations include many physical types and conditions, a mix of racial appearances, and unspecified gender presentations. Sometimes a depiction seems particularly intentional if also exclusionary, such as when a black child with a prosthetic arm appears accompanying text that reads “I love the way my arms bend and fold”—but nowhere else. The same goes for an arm displaying vitiligo included on the spread for “I love the color of my skin.” Such inclusions on these specific pages directly promote self-love for attributes often erased from certain categories, a distinct positive, but it is a shame they are not included in other areas as well. The message is certain and consistent, with nary a contention or doubt. Varied shapes make each cast member definitively distinct while bold colors enhance the book’s jubilant tone.

A celebratory proclamation of ultra-inclusive self-love. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5064-5554-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Beaming Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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Safe to creep on by.

LOVE FROM THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR

Carle’s famous caterpillar expresses its love.

In three sentences that stretch out over most of the book’s 32 pages, the (here, at least) not-so-ravenous larva first describes the object of its love, then describes how that loved one makes it feel before concluding, “That’s why… / I[heart]U.” There is little original in either visual or textual content, much of it mined from The Very Hungry Caterpillar. “You are… / …so sweet,” proclaims the caterpillar as it crawls through the hole it’s munched in a strawberry; “…the cherry on my cake,” it says as it perches on the familiar square of chocolate cake; “…the apple of my eye,” it announces as it emerges from an apple. Images familiar from other works join the smiling sun that shone down on the caterpillar as it delivers assurances that “you make… / …the sun shine brighter / …the stars sparkle,” and so on. The book is small, only 7 inches high and 5 ¾ inches across when closed—probably not coincidentally about the size of a greeting card. While generations of children have grown up with the ravenous caterpillar, this collection of Carle imagery and platitudinous sentiment has little of his classic’s charm. The melding of Carle’s caterpillar with Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE on the book’s cover, alas, draws further attention to its derivative nature.

Safe to creep on by. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 15, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-448-48932-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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