Book Reviews

So many books. So little time.

Love by Matt de la Pena

A story-poem that begins and ends with love.

The author traces love's trajectory—from the first worldly sounds through life's march towards independence.

The love heard—the parents voice by the crib, the cabdriver on his radio,
and smelled—the hot dog offered, the 'smell of crashing waves.'

Seen—the 'night sky above your trailer',
and felt—'…the arms of a loved one
who bends to your ear and whispers,
"It's okay, it's okay, it's love."'

You grow in that love, and in so growing 'learn to recognize a love overlooked':
'A love that wakes at dawn/ and rides to work on the bus…A slice of burnt toast.' Love is a two-way street.

The illustrations march with the words, colorful, action-filled, illustrating the joy of daily life. But a perception of love lost drains the page of color and we see a sepia, lavender-toned double-spread. True love, the author and illustrator tell, is that which sees life whole, diamonds and coal, yet loves nonetheless.

When you are ready to step out into the world, 'your loved ones will stand there like/puddles beneath their umbrellas.' Ah the image these words conjure! Love, caring, good wishes—all wrapped in that one simple sentence. Color returns—glowing jewel-colored umbrellas as metaphors of protection from the storms of life. They wish 'Luck' but really mean 'Love'.

This wondrous book is their paean to that: each word, each image chosen with care, polished with love, and expertly woven into the tapestry of life.

Title: Love

Author: Matt De La Pena

Illustrator: Loren Long

Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons

Hardback: 40 pages

ISBN: 9781524740917