Sunday, July 14, 2019

Review - If There Never Was a You

If There Never Was a You
by Amanda Rowe
illustrated by Olga Skomorokhova
Date: 2019
Publisher: Familius
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 20
Format: e-book
Source: library

If there never was a you,
how empty life would be!
Who would make me smile and laugh
and keep me company?

Filled with heartwarming messages of love, belonging, and togetherness, If There Never Was a You gently reassures children that the place they hold in their parents' hearts can never be filled with anything else.

(synopsis from Kobo; see it on Goodreads)

I recently read another book in the same vein called We Sang You Home. I didn't like that one much, for one main reason: it put way too much pressure on the kid. It was all about the parent, and what the child's presence did for them. If There Never Was a You, in contrast, focuses more on the child and on the parent-child relationship.

The illustrations kind of remind me of some I've seen from the 1960s. But these look fresher, with better facial expressions and lots of fun details to notice.

This is a rhyming picture book, and with the exception of one stanza, the meter is great (I don't know what happened in that one line). The text talks about all the things that the mother and child do together, things that wouldn't be possible if the child didn't exist. Who would dream the child's dreams, for example? The whole book is steeped in a sweet sentiment, and doesn't have that feeling of high expectations that We Sang You Home is plagued by.

Parents are likely to get just as much out of this one as kids. It's a gentle reminder for parents of all the wonderful things children can bring... as well as an affirmation for children that they are loved and worthy.

Quotable moment:

Premise: 4/5
Meter: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 4 out of 5

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