A sweet tale about a girl and a duckling teaches children about emotion
Love Is…, a sweet, off-the-beaten-path book about a little girl who rescues a duckling and cares for it at home, tied for most-kept book in Literati’s Club Sprout (for 3-5 year olds) in February with Stick & Stone, and Forever by longtime Literati favorite (and February’s Featured Illustrator) Emma Dodd. 57% of our members decided to keep each of those books.
As for Love Is…, Literati’s CEO Jessica Ewing says it was the illustrations, particularly, that caught her eye. “It’s a great story, and the book’s strength lies in the way that the illustrations allow a child to viscerally feel the emotional impact of what is happening in this heartfelt story. When you see a picture and it makes your chest tighten up, that’s a powerful thing.”
Dr. Mark West, professor of English at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, says the book by Diane Adams and Claire Keane, which was sent to Literati members as part of the club’s In My Heart theme, does a wonderful job of showing the range of emotions we can have for those we’re close to (in this case a little duckling).
“In our culture we’re a little afraid of emotions in a lot of ways; we’re not sure how to deal with them and we don’t fully understand emotion very well in terms of communicating it to children. When I was a preschool teacher, it seemed if kids were genuinely mad or upset about something, we didn’t like to see that expressing of emotion; it makes us a little uncomfortable. If they cry, we say stop crying, but sometimes a kid really does need to cry. Love Is… is not really a story, then, about a girl and a duckling at all, but one about relationships and the emotions associated with them. Tying it to a duckling makes it a little easier to talk about.”
Love Is… is not really a story, then, about a girl and a duckling at all, but one about relationships and the emotions associated with them.
West says that visually it reminds him of Robert McCloskey’s 1940s children’s picture book Make Way for Ducklings. “That was such a beautiful book, focusing on a family of ducks in an urban setting, and it so beautifully captured the parks and sites of Boston. I don’t know exactly where Love Is… is supposed to be set, but it has a New York-ish feel to it when you see the girl looking out the window at skyscrapers and bridges. It could be Central Park – another example of the nature you can find in cities.”
But Adams and Keane have woven a much deeper truth into a story about a girl connecting with nature in the city – that love is as much about letting your loved ones spread their wings as it is about keeping them held tight.