cover image My Love for You

My Love for You

Susan L. Roth. Dial Books, $12.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-2031-2

This counting book, with soft and elaborate torn-paper illustrations and a wild-animal theme, describes a love ""bigger than 1 bear, taller than 2 giraffes, [and] larger than 3 blue whales."" A white mouse and a smaller brown mouse serve as the central characters, each taking turns to issue a declaration beginning with the words ""My love for you"" and continuing with phrases that incorporate numerals from one to 10. The mice compare strong feelings to animal giants from elephants to hippos, and end the list with the word ""forever."" Roth (Brave Martha and the Dragon) leaves the mice's relationship unspecific-they could be parent and child, friends or relatives, thus widening the potential audience for the book. Her art for this title is among her most childlike: she fashions fantastic landscapes and realistic animals from multicolored layers of paper-mottled, patterned, solid or tissue-thin. Transparent wisps and flyaway strands of cotton give some images a billowy look, while others have sharp, clipped edges. An amiable and direct primer. All ages. (Feb.)