cover image Why Do You Love Me?

Why Do You Love Me?

Laura C. Schlessinger, Paul Meisel. Cliff Street Books, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-06-027866-3

Radio therapist ""Dr. Laura"" Schlessinger tackles the concept of unconditional love in her debut book for children, the first in a projected series of ""subjects worthy of discussion with your children."" At bedtime, a boy asks his mother whether she loves him for all the good things he does or if she stops loving him when he misbehaves. ""The love in my heart is like the sun in the sky,"" his mother explains, and she likens anger and sadness to clouds, reassuring him that her love ""is always there, even when you can't see it."" If the comparison is serviceable, the delivery is so heavy-handed that it undermines the intent. Offering up such cotton-candy sentiments as ""I love you because you're the one and only Sammy there will ever be in the whole world--and you're mine"" and ""it's hard to feel the soft feeling of love when you are feeling sad or angry or hurt,"" the book bogs down under a cargo of treacly platitudes. McFeeley's garish cartoon-like illustrations add energy but little else, and the google-eyed Sammy is an unappealing character, especially in a full-page portrait with tears running down his face and clouds bombarding him from all sides. An example of bibliotherapy at its most banal, this one is for Dr. Laura groupies only. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)