PreS-A slightly offbeat approach to the familiar topic of parental love. Lawler's verses are simple but the images evoked are sometimes unexpected. Kisses are characterized as colors, pebbles, comets, flowers, raindrops, acorns, snowflakes, and blankets. In each case, abundance is the norm. "If kisses were colors, you'd see every one/of the bands of a rainbow that shines in the sun./If kisses were pebbles, your beach would be lined/with stones by the millions, of all shapes and kinds." Jay's distinctive artwork, "created using alkyd oil paint on paper with crackling varnish," amplifies the verses. Unusual portraits show a pensive pebble, a smiling flower, a welcoming acorn. In other illustrations, anthropomorphic animal children dance together under a rainbow, collect pebbles on a beach, etc. A human mother and child appear on the first page and the last. For adults drawn to Jay's imaginative artwork and/or Lawler's sweetly expressed affection, this book provides an interesting alternative to books like Sam McBratney's Guess How Much I Love You (Candlewick, 1995). It's unclear, however, whether its quiet whimsy will have broad child appeal.-Lisa Dennis, The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Jay's brilliant imagination and artistry make this rather pedestrian, baby love song shine. The text is a simple and just-short-of-saccharine rhyme of parent-to-baby kisses: "If kisses were acorns, a forest would grow / of beautiful oak trees, in row after row. . . . If kisses were blankets, / you'd always be warm, / wrapped up from the cold / during winter's worst storm." It's all very sweet and affectionate. Jay's pictures, however, partake of the wonderful inspiration that made her art for Picture This (2000) and A World of Wonders (p. 48) so remarkable. She uses alkyd oil paint on paper with a crackling varnish; the result seems to capture sunlit colors behind a slightly crazed glass surface. Her pictures inhabit a dreamlike landscape where a baby sits in a sunflower-decorated carriage nearly as tall as a tree, and animals in exuberant dress (the bunny is wearing polka dots, the elephant a striped bathing suit) dance beneath a rainbow. The sun wears a smile, and the acorn, facing a page of oaks, is a winsome and solid presence with a face like a grandfather clock. A distant and not as wittily composed cousin to Baby Hearts and Baby Flowers (2001), but the pictures repay reading and rereading. (Picture book. 3-6)