I Love You the Purplest

Barbara M. Joosse, Author, Mary Whyte, Illustrator, Barbara Lavallee, Illustrator Chronicle Books $16.99 (24p) ISBN 978-0-8118-0718-0
Further probing the theme of her Mama, Do You Love Me?, Joosse's resonant tale spotlights two young sons on a fishing expedition with their mother; each boy is angling to be tops with Mom. Clearly an experienced peacemaker, Mama offers just the right answers when the boys inquire which of them, for example, is the best rower: ""Why, Julian, you took the deepest strokes. And Max, your strokes were fastest."" As she tucks them into bed that night, they each pose the ultimate question: ""Who do you love best?"" She loves one the ""bluest,"" the other the ""reddest""; it is up to presiding adults to explain how these add up to the ""purplest."" Though it hovers on the cloying, Joosse's image-laden narrative makes for a soothing bedtime read-aloud. Gracefully moving from naturalistic panoramas to close-ups of the cherubic-looking brothers, Whyte's (Boomer's Big Day) watercolors amplify the story's considerable emotional pitch. Combining lifelike images of the characters with abstract impressions of twilit skies or lakeside woods, the art encapsulates the lyricism of the text. Ages 3-8. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
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