Saturday, July 14, 2018

Review - Love

by Matt de la Peña
illustrated by Loren Long
Date: 2018
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 40
Format: e-book
Source: library

From Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña and bestselling illustrator Loren Long comes a story about the strongest bond there is and the diverse and powerful ways it connects us all.

"In the beginning there is light
and two wide-eyed figures standing near the foot of your bed
and the sound of their voices is love.
A cab driver plays love softly on his radio
while you bounce in back with the bumps of the city
and everything smells new, and it smells like life."

In this heartfelt celebration of love, Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña and bestselling illustrator Loren Long depict the many ways we experience this universal bond, which carries us from the day we are born throughout the years of our childhood and beyond. With a lyrical text that's soothing and inspiring, this tender tale is a needed comfort and a new classic that will resonate with readers of every age.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

You know how, if you say a word over and over again for long enough, it starts to lose its meaning? Unfortunately, I think that's what happened here. In this book everything is love, and while on some level that might be true, it's a message that would probably ring hollow when your parents are fighting or your building is burning down or you have a nightmare after seeing something awful on TV. Equating all of those things with love didn't make much sense to me as an adult, and I'm not sure it would make much sense to kids, either.

However, the artwork in this one is just lovely. I really like Long's illustration style (I encountered it before in Barack Obama's delightful picture book, Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters). The cast of characters is culturally, economically, and socially diverse, and the charming pictures save what would otherwise be a confusing and confused narrative.

Have a look at this one for the illustrations, but don't expect too much from the writing.

Quotable moment:

In a crowded concrete park,
you toddle toward summer sprinklers
while older kids skip rope
and run up the slide, and soon
you are running among them,
and the echo of your laughter is love.

Premise: 3/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 3/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.33 out of 5

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