Love You When You Whine

Emily Jenkins, Author, Sergio Ruzzier, Illustrator , illus. by Sergio Ruzzier. FSG/Foster $15 (32p) ISBN 978-0-374-34652-2

Jenkins (That New Animal ) extols the limitless love of parents in her accounting of the numerous patience-stretching antics of young children, which may appeal more to the caregiver than the child. "Love you when you pour cereal on the floor./ And when you ask for every toy in the whole store,/ one after the other." This observant tally of misdeeds ranges from small annoyances, such as interrupting, to larger misdemeanors like putting crayons in the dryer or spreading jam on the computer. The same mother and child—two white, upright cats with wide, deep-set blue eyes and outsize ears—feature in illustrations that Ruzzier (The Room of Wonders ) fans will quickly recognize. His earthtone colors and spare backdrops fill small, uneven portholes, surrounded by white space. What the slightly offbeat paintings lack in the warm and fuzzy department is made up for in the book's reassuring message and wry humor (e.g., one spread reads, "Love you when you paint the walls..."—a turn of the page reveals, "and the dog"). The quirky art and missing first-person pronoun confer a subtly avant-garde quality, while the tone evokes a parent heaving an exhausted sigh. But the mother's love never wavers and culminates with a big hug and comforting tuck-in scene. "Love you, always. Yes, I do." Youngsters will smile at both the kitten's tolerance-testing tricks and also the knowledge that a parent's devotion will withstand a bit of a whine and other transgressions. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/24/2006
Release date: 09/01/2006
Genre: Children's
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