Papa, Do You Love Me?
Release date: 04/01/2005
Featuring a dramatically different setting from the collaborators'Mama, Do You Love Me? , which centers on an Alaskan Inuit mother and daughter, this warmhearted companion introduces a Maasai boy and his father on the Serengeti. Like the young protagonist of the earlier book, this curious child verbally tests the limits of his parent's love, which is—words and art convincingly reinforce—boundless. Addressing his child as Tender Heart, the father incorporates references to Maasai culture as he answers his son: "I love you more than the warrior loves to leap, more than the bush baby loves the moon, more than the elder loves his stories." Local terms (explained in a glossary) come into play as the lad's questions become more specific. What if, as herd boy, one night he overate and fell asleep and hyenas crept in and stole his birthright cow? The father's articulate responses reassure the child that he will always be there to help his son—and to teach him. Echoing the soothing rhythm of the poetic narrative, Lavallee's graceful watercolors feature a harmoniously balanced palette, setting the bold hues and patterns of traditional Maasai clothing against the variegated blues of the sky, the pale tones of the plain and the natural markings of African animals. This vividly depicted setting underscores the universality of the book's message. Ages 4-8. (June)