That's Love

That's Love

by Sam Williams

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In this colorful, slightly sappy paean to love, Williams and Moriuchi (who previously teamed up for Talk Peace) nudge readers towards the understanding that the most important knowledge rests in the heart rather than the head. "I can name the leaves/ and even the trees," proclaims a rosy-cheeked girl as she takes a fanciful tour of her world (one scene finds her riding on a leaping dolphin). "I know all the countries of the world/ (well at least three).... But I can't name the look/ that I see on your face./ It isn't a color,/ it isn't a place./ .../ Is it love?" Williams then lapses into versifying, including these lines: "Knowing life is for living,/ being forgiving/ when it all goes wrong,/ that's love." While no preschooler would argue with this, it's hard to believe any youngster would find the text compelling. Moriuchi's naïf, mixed-media pictures go a long way in buoying the text; they brim with sunshine, reassurance and adorable people and animals of every stripe. The illustrator achieves some radiant effects with texture and translucent washes of color, and some of the spreads�like one in which two children embrace beneath a starry sky�are truly beautiful. Ages 3-6. (Feb.)

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
English writer Williams collaborates with Japanese illustrator Moriuchi (who now lives in England) to create this picture book in praise of love. While very young children, the book's target audience, generally prefer the concrete to the abstract, the brilliant colors and charming shapes make this story visually appealing and offer opportunities for exploration of whimsical details. Some illustrations are two-page spreads, some are single pages, and some are quartered—all are sprinkled with animals of sea and land, flowers, hearts, ships, stars, and children. The rhyming text begins with a little girl in a red printed dress enumerating the things she knows and experiences with her senses and moves on to question the more elusive nature of love. What is it? The author suggests many possibilities, unfortunately arriving at a fairly predictable and sentimental conclusion: "Seeing the good / the way we all should. / Being special, being there, / the way you are, / the way you care, / that's love." Moriuchi's glowing reds and yellows, greens and blues, pinks and purples, and her use of paint along with printed and painted paper make the pictures eye-catching and will most likely hold the attention of listeners, especially if experienced on the lap of a cherished adult. The cheerful, round-faced little girl in her red dress can be followed through the pages, providing focus and a point of identification for viewers as they try to understand the multiple meanings of love presented in this busy, vividly illustrated picture book.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
K-Gr 1-This paean to love begins with a proud catalog of an enterprising child's achievements-she can "Paint a color,/smell a flower,/draw a shape,/and name the hour." However, "I can't name the look/that I see on your face." She then segues into the less concrete ways in which she perceives love. "It isn't a color,/it isn't a place./It's a feeling I feel,/so appealing,/so real." Williams describes the nature of love in specific actions such as sharing and caring: "Holding me when I cry,/helping me to try again,-." Children may be challenged by such notions as "the softness of silence," but they are few and beautifully depicted in the luminous, mixed-media artwork. This subtle articulation of complex ideas is made all the more accessible by the inclusion of hugs and kisses. The colors, shapes, and rhymes will entrance audiences, making this a perfect book for Valentine's Day or anytime someone wants to share those special feelings.-Tamara E. Richman, Somerset County Library System, Bridgewater, NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The competent narrator in this companion piece to Talk Peace (2005) can tell time, identify trees and their leaves and even imagine crossing the ocean. Yet, she is mystified by the look-presumably of love-she sees on "your face." The descriptions of affection in the uneven text are sometimes concrete (kissing, sharing) and sometimes more oblique ("Knowing life is for living"). The childlike artwork in juicy colors makes the abstract references more understandable with simple, soft-edged scenes of children and animals at play. Comforting circles and a bevy of hearts that can inspire a fan base of young girls dominate the pictures featuring geometric forms. With neither poignancy nor telling details, this attempt at the concept of love ultimately seems false-but it will probably sell like crazy. (Picture book. 4-7)

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