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StorySmith Book Review by Staphanie: Love by Matt de la Peña

What do you know about love - does it make the world go round, is it blind, do you get sick from being in love? We have our StorySmith Stephanie Mun Chen to review the book titled "Love" by Matt de la Pena.

What Staphanie thinks...

I had high expectations reading this new book titled 'LOVE' written and illustrated by 2 children's picture book powerhouses - author Matt De La Peña, winner of the Newberry medal for his previous book 'Last Stop At Market Street', and the celebrated illustrator Loren Long, who illustrated 'The Little Engine That Could', one of our all time favourite books.

The book starts with a heartwarming and familiar scene of love from a newborn or a child's frame of reference and perspective. From the first day one is born and experiencing love through "two wide-eyed figures standing near the foot of your bed, and the sound of their voices is love" .

The author delivers the message of love with in a poetic essence and this is wonderful for children because poetry is "the best words in the best order"; the rhymes can help young children develop a love for language and a love of reading.

This is a perfect book for interactive reading where you allow children to think and listen at the same time. Children can build meaning through the interplay of details in the text, and of their own experiences. You can ask open-ended questions, pause and take time to ask children to observe the pictures and express their views.

Many themes can be seen in this book such as love, kindness, struggles, family, trauma, teamwork, joy, perseverance, and diversity. The author showed us some bittersweet moments, and heartbreaking ones. However, the overall message is that love is transcendent, all encompassing, and is a powerful emotion so integral to who we are as human beings, one so easy to feel but so difficult to express in words.

We see that love is everywhere, it is not always all wrapped up nicely with a ribbon; among other things. It is in nature, music, the imperfection of human beings, and even, in helping others. After reading the book, I ask my children — what is love ?

"Love is when my dog runs to me with his tail wagging when I get home from school."

"Love is when you have a broken shin and everyone who cares about you does whatever they can to make you feel better."

"Love is offering the last piece of sweet and sour meatball to your sister when you really really wanted it yourself."

"Love is being able to forgive each other."

"Love is working together, building up again, and standing strong after a setback."

TLDR version:

- Beautiful illustrations

- Poetic language

- Interactive reading

- Explores various themes for discussion

Overall, I enjoyed this book with my 3 children, age 5,7,7.

I would recommend this book for children 4-7 years of age, for meaningful comprehension and understanding. For younger children, it is even a better investment, as you can still read to very young children, this book will serve a more meaningful opportunity for discussion when the children are a bit older when you re- read it again to them.

Get the book here!

A mother to 3 beautiful children. A true 'Renaissance woman', Staphanie Mun Chen is Pharmacist, certified Personal Trainer, Founder of 'At The Barre Lifestyle' fitness studio, and a Home educator. A believer of more joy, less overwhelm. One of her favourite thing to do with the children, walking bare foot in the garden, lying on the couch with a good book. Her passion is raising well rounded children for the next generation, that are not only head smart, but character first.





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