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by Sally Lloyd-Jones & illustrated by Frank Endersby

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-06-201476-4
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

The newest entry into the glutted daddy/mommy-loves-his/her-little-one market is as sweet as all the rest but fails to distinguish itself.

Little Red Squirrel and his dad are out "playing in the big wood." Daddy calls to his child, "Did I tell you today that I love you?" "Because why?" responds Little Red Squirrel, then proceeds to engage in all sorts of cute, squirrel-ish behavior to answer his question. Does daddy love him because he's fast? Because he's good at finding berries? Because he's "strong and can do such High Climbing?" Because he's so "ABSOLUTELY brave?" And on and on. It's all undeniably adorable, but just about everything about this book, from the dialogue-driven interaction, naming convention and dad-gets-the-last-word bedtime snuggle, smacks of Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram's now-classic Guess How Much I Love You? Endersby's illustrations feel just as derivative as Lloyd-Jones' text. Varying full-bleed, double-page spreads with vignettes, he creates a setting nearly identical in palette and feel to the Nutbrown Hares' evening romp. The gently anthropomorphized faces and body language recall the earlier parent-child duo as well. Heck, even the typeface does. For a fresh treatment of this ever-popular theme, opt for What's Special About Me, Mama? by Kristina Evans and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe (2011), or take a look at the new pop-up version of Guess How Much I Love You? (2011).

Skip this clone. (Picture book. 3-7)