cover image You Are My I Love You

You Are My I Love You

Maryann K. Cusimano, Maryann K. Cusimano Love. Philomel Books, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-399-23392-0

Even Ichikawa's (the Tanya series) effervescent watercolors can't disguise a rhyming text that is as corny as Kansas in August. The simile-driven format is established on the very first page: ""I am your parent; you are my child. I am your quiet place; you are my wild."" As the sage teddy bear and the adorable child make their way through the day, the elder bear is always described in terms of wisdom and patience, while the offspring is ebullient and unpredictable (the characters' genders aren't specified). First-time author Cusimano stretches the conceit past the breaking point: for bathtime, she writes, ""I am your dry towel; you are my wet bath."" At the evening meal, it's ""I am your dinner; you are my chocolate cake. I am your bedtime; you are my wide awake."" Fortunately, Ichikawa's graceful, full-bleed pictures have none of the text's saccharine qualities. Her views of the teddy bear duo have a sweet, simple pellucidity, instantly communicating all that the reader needs to know about the wonders of loving and being loved. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)