How many ways can a child or parent express love? Debut author and illustrator Figgie and Kostyack offer several suggestions in this concept book—then leave room for readers to add their own.
With simple, repeating text and creative illustrations, Figgie and Kostyack invite readers to picture the number of pepperoni pizzas in Italy or the number of lights on the Eiffel Tower. With each quantity, the narrator expresses, “I love you more than…” offering young readers a pattern to repeat on each page. Some of the numbers are concrete (“all the LEGOs in LEGOLAND”), and others are so numerous they’re effectively uncountable (the number of stars in the Milky Way Galaxy). Children are likely to giggle at choices like the number of gum balls in the largest gum ball machine in the world or the number of jelly beans produced by the Easter Bunny. The best selections, however, are the numbers that aren’t usually considered—drops of rain in a thunderstorm or snowflakes in a snowman. Kostyack, already a talented illustrator at the age of 11, artfully uses squiggles to imply solid color in a way that reflects the childlike tone of the words. While several of her illustrations are cartoonish, others show a full range of shading or turn a simple design into a poignant image. A few details are a bit of a miss; a beach scene next to text about a jungle, for example, and in one image, a mug bears an unnecessary anti-male caption (“If a man states an opinion and a woman is not around to hear it, he is still…wrong”), which may alienate young male independent readers who would otherwise enjoy the book. The final four spreads offer children the starter phrase, “I love you more than…” and the beginning of an image (a playground, a rainbow, a tire swing in a tree, a girl hugging a woman) that they can complete along with the phrase. While some beg obvious completion (I love you more than the colors of the rainbow, for example), others will encourage more creative responses, both in the art and the text.
A sweet declaration
of love for young readers from adults or for adults from young readers, making
it a good selection for lap reading.