O’Leary and Klassen’s third installment in their picture-book series about early childhood ages and stages is every bit as delightful as its predecessors, You Are One and You Are Two (both 2016).
A cupcake with three candles greets readers on the title page and provides a celebratory entrance into the book proper. Ensuing pages include mixed-media illustrations that show diverse young children engaged in various activities, the varying perspectives and eye-catching patterns and textures providing ample visual interest. “Three is a busy age, and you are the busiest of bees” reads the text accompanying a picture of a light-skinned girl with fair hair digging with a trowel while an adult with a watering can stands to the side. Other spreads show less-physical, more-contemplative moments in children’s lives, and relationships with other people are also highlighted in various spreads. Throughout, children’s growing independence is honored rather than mourned, and the direct address of the second-person text displays an abundance of respect and joy in their growing autonomy: “You are still our baby but you are also your own person. We love to hold you close and we love to watch you run.”
Three cheers for 3: hip-hip hooray! (Picture book. 2-4)