Love

Matt de la Peña, illus. by Loren Long. Putnam, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5247-4091-7
De la Peña’s prose poem speaks right to young children. “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,” he opens as an interracial couple looks down at a crib. The rest of de la Peña’s poem is accompanied by images of families and friends of many different ages and appearances who live in cities and in rural or warm places, such as the group of men seen throwing horseshoes under palm trees. The expressions worn by Long’s characters and the way their shoulders are stooped with care make them seem full of love, even when they’re playing instruments or fishing. It’s not always smooth sailing, and sometimes scary things happen (“One day you find your family/ nervously huddled around the TV”), but comfort is there. “It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s love,” says a grown-up offering a child an embrace. People often talk to children about love; in these pages, they can see and feel what it’s like. And there’s plenty for everybody. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/09/2017
Release date: 01/16/2018
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