cover image Love's a Sweet

Love's a Sweet

Clyde Watson. Viking Children's Books, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-670-83453-2

In nursery-like rhymes and sweetly misted but witty illustrations, the sisters Watson (Father Fox's Pennyrhymes) take an old-fashioned look at love across the generations. The rhymes have a pleasing, familiar ring: ""Love's a sweet no money can buy/ And a riddle that none can explain;/ More precious, 'tis said, than emeralds or gold/ And yet as common as rain."" The animal characters are softly sketched and colored, shown in quaint domestic and country scenes: a rabbit couple strolls contentedly in front of a fiddler; a young skunk pats the hand of his grandmother seated in her rocking chair (""[Let me] hold your hand until you sleep/ As once you held mine""). Quirky details in the art are ballast against sentimentality. ""Love, hate, joy, & sorrow/ All rolled into one,"" begins one verse; the art above shows a beaming chipmunk couple absent-mindedly keeping their reluctant child in tow while two young mice heatedly argue with each other. Even with this degree of activity, the art is serene and soothing. All in all, a calm and quietly confident work. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)