I Love You Because I Love You

HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen. Jan. 2022. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062894595.
K-Gr 2–What is love? This compelling title attempts to capture many different expressions of love, a topic of much discussion in children’s literature. Each spread features a short dialogue declaring the ways that love is expressed and how it changes a person for the better. On one spread two parents hear their toddler, who has just drawn all over the walls of their house, say “I love you because you let me make mistakes.” The opposite page shows the trio turning the scribbles into a wall of art: “Because I love you, no mistake is ever too great.” “I love you because you see what others miss” becomes an even more powerful, “Because I love you, I see more than before.” The diversity of the characters and the expressions of love provide multiple opportunities for children to find themselves reflected in these pages. This title would also make a wonderful writing prompt for children and even preteens to share their own experiences of love and how it has transformed their lives. Love’s illustrations, in acrylic ink, watercolor and gouache, are brimming with emotion, capturing Van’s lyrical language but enhancing it, and welcoming all. The effect, across the pages, is ever expansive, like a peony blossom unfolding.
VERDICT Beautifully written and illustrated, this title presents and grows the concept of love in so many ways that it cannot fail to inspire children to assess the ways they share love and are affected by it.

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