I Love You

­Reycraft. Feb. 2022. 36p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781478875659.
PreS-Gr 2–The glorious story of two young friends, a boy who barely speaks but listens closely, and a girl who overcompensates for his silence by describing everything in their environment. The girl tells the boy she loves him, but her words are whisked away in the wind. Those words take a journey that kicks off this tale, told in clear and simple prose, as the girl searches for her missing “I love you” and asks strangers she meets along the way for directions. During her search, her missing words comfort a crying baby, bring courage to a weary mountain climber, and provide company to a lonely old man. After much adventure and global travel, the words return to their speaker. The girl and her words are now strengthened and made richer by a year of experiences. A tight repetitive structure lends the text the timeless quality of a classic fairy tale. Colored pen-and-ink illustrations depicting the natural world are delicate and rich. Each bird feather and leaf vein is carefully portrayed, with great attention given to the color. The human characters are on a smaller scale in the midst of oversized plants and animals, giving the artwork a Thumbelina-like quality. A show-stopping spread midway depicts more than two dozen birds teaching the girl how to say “I love you” in different languages. Both the girl and the boy are slightly tanned, perhaps olive-skinned, and the people the girl encounters tend to be white.
VERDICT Highly recommended for fiction collections. This one-of-a-kind tale is a must-read.

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