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If I Could: A Mother's Promise

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"If I could, I’d swim the deep in search of treasures for you to keep."

From the first rays of the morning sun to the last nod of a tiny head at bedtime, a toddler and mother share a blissfully ordinary day. But there is nothing ordinary about the love between them — a love that is as bright as flowers, as lovely as a song, as comforting as stars, and as deep as the ocean.

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Candlewick, 04/08/2008, Hardcover, Very Good condition. Very Good dust jacket.

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Overview

"If I could, I’d swim the deep in search of treasures for you to keep."

From the first rays of the morning sun to the last nod of a tiny head at bedtime, a toddler and mother share a blissfully ordinary day. But there is nothing ordinary about the love between them — a love that is as bright as flowers, as lovely as a song, as comforting as stars, and as deep as the ocean.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

A raccoon mother shepherds her toddler son through his daily routine, all the while expounding upon how she'd like to make the world even more wonderful for her beloved child. Although it may seem cantankerous to hold maternal sentiments to the highest standards of logic, some of this mother's musings seem off-kilter: "If I could, I'd rouse the sun/and make it shine/ till day is done," she declares-but the sun already does that anyway without Mom. It's a good thing, then, that Denise's (illustrator of the Redwall picture books) acrylic-and-charcoal vignettes possess such emotional vividness; they're a warm, more traditional relative of the work of Lynn Munsinger. Any quibbles with the text soon fade in the face of scenes like the one in which the mother raccoon takes a moment from preparing dinner to gaze with quiet adoration at her plump, furry offspring, who's happily banging away on a toy xylophone before an audience of old-fashioned stuffed toys. And the tiny verbal surprise at the end leaves parent and child readers basking in tenderness. Ages 2-6. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Sheilah Egan
Deceptively simple, this charming ode to a mother's love of her child covers a depth of feeling that is often hard to express. In some books, there is a give-and-take between the parent and child that almost seems to be a contest of who can love whom the most, but here Milord has written a rhymed consideration of the extent of this mother's love. Denise has beautifully illustrated the mother's longing to express her feelings with gentle, pastel watercolor renderings of a mother badger and her child as they progress through a day together. As she wishes such things as "If I could, I'd swim the deep in search of treasures for you to keep," we see the pair gathering shells and other "treasures" in tidal pools along the beach. She longs to make all days sunny and bright, to sing at night to keep the stars shining brightly, and to "make you see how very much you mean to me." After they have made their way back home, we hear her say "You are the song. You are the light—a treat and a treasure, a joy and delight. This much I know, this much is true, I couldn't love you more that I do. But if I could I would." This wonderful circle of wishes and their fulfillment in realizing that their love is embodied in the things that they share daily is a lovely paean to the absolute, unconditional love felt by the "mommy." Denise has paid careful attention to conveying this message in every aspect of each illustration. In the picnic on the beach scene, we see a striped blanket folded among their things, then as the sun goes down we see the mother wrapped in the blanket as she snuggles her child in the cool of the evening. Give this as a loving Mother's Day present. Needless to say, I wish I couldconvey just how much I love this book—I guess sharing it with everyone I love and encouraging others to do the same will be a good start. Reviewer: Sheilah Egan
School Library Journal

PreS- In the vein of Sam McBratney's Guess How Much I Love You (Candlewick, 1995) or even Margaret Wise Brown's The Runaway Bunny (HarperCollins, 1942), this book allows parents to express how deeply they care for their children. Written in a series of rhyming verses, it features a mother raccoon who tells her son how much she loves him throughout a day spent mostly at the beach, such as "If I could,/I'd paint the flowers/to brighten all/your waking hours." While the narrative is addressed to the child, the rhyming scheme seems forced and the sentiments seem more geared to adults than to youngsters. The illustrations, too, celebrate the things that parents love most about their children, such as their natural curiosity about the world. Denise's illustrations show the mother raccoon and her toddler son going through their active day in terrific detail. Their love for one another is apparent in the details-the hand holding, the sweet smiles. Unfortunately, the warm illustrations are not enough to keep preschoolers involved in this story.-Susan E. Murray, Glendale Public Library, AZ

Kirkus Reviews
A raccoon mother croons a gentle ode to her cherished child in this heartfelt offering from Milord. The title becomes the refrain by which a mother lovingly delineates how she would order the world for her child's contentment. Midway through, a subtle alteration in the verses serves to emphasize the mother's boundless enchantment with her offspring: "You are the song. / You are the light- / a treat and a treasure / a joy and delight." Denise's acrylic-and-charcoal illustrations are an ideal combination of soft edges and sumptuous hues. Utilizing both full-page spreads and smaller vignettes, the affecting paintings illuminate the devotion between mother and child. The simple verses make up for any brevity with the depth of emotion they express. This cozy, comforting tale is a perfect fit for toddlers, who yearn to know they are the center of their loved one's universe. (Picture Book. 2-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763623487
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 4/8/2008
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.31 (w) x 10.55 (h) x 0.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Milord, who has written more than ten books fo children, says that IF I COULD was originally written as a gift to her mother on her seventy-fifth birthday. Susan Milord lives in Norwich, Vermont.

Christopher Denise is the illustrator of OLIVER FINDS HIS WAY by Phyllis Root, a SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL Best Book of the Year. He lives in Barrington, Rhode Island.

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