I Love You written by Clemency Pearce and illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw (Nosy Crow) HB RRP $12.99
Reviewed by Daniela Andrews
‘When you feel so very small, when no one seems to care at all, what can make you ten feet tall? Three little words …’
This sweet story, told in verse, is based on feelings. Originally published as a hardcover book (Three Little Words), it is now presented in a board book format – perfect for the target age group of 2–4 years. It gives children examples of situations where they might feel ignored, upset, frustrated or shy. It reassures them that in any situation, their parents will be there to comfort them and offer those three little words to make them feel better: ‘I love you’.
There is a lovely, gentle question/answer pattern to the story that makes it great to read aloud. Children will enjoy chiming in with the phrase ‘I love you’ upon each turn of the page. The author cleverly describes how the phrase can be used in different situations by changing one adjective each time. If the child is feeling small, the answer lies in three ‘little’ words. If the child has lost a race, there are three ‘winning’ words that can help. Feeling left out? Perhaps three ‘sharing’ words will do the trick. If they’re feeling shy, three ‘friendly’ words are what they need.
The ending of the book suddenly changes the pattern of the story by describing five situations where others might not be feeling happy. It helps show children how to empathise with others by suggesting four special words to help them through … ‘I love you too!’
The illustrations are colourful and expressive, warm and affectionate. Animals are shown in, first, a negative situation and then a positive one. Beardshaw has used a combination of coloured pencils, watercolours, and overlaid stencils to great effect.
Toddlers and preschoolers will no doubt be enticed by the simple language, repetition, lively pictures … and those seven cutout love hearts on the front cover that they can stick their fingers through!