Matt De la Peña

Book - 2018

Illustrations and easy-to-read text celebrate the bonds of love that connect us all.

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Picture books
New York, NY : G.P. Putnam's Sons [2018]
Physical Description
pages cm
Main Author
Matt De la Peña (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Newbery Award–winning de la Peña offers a lyrical ode to love in this stirring picture book. It opens with the loving coos of parents, gazing at their new baby, but the subsequent places where love can be found are less obvious: love emerges "in the smell of crashing waves"; "the rustling leaves of a gnarled tree"; "in the made-up stories your uncles tell"; and "the face staring back in the bathroom mirror." In de la Peña's lines, love becomes not just an emotion between people but a feeling suffusing the world. It's not all sunshine, though; he also explores scary moments, when love seems to be missing, but even those can be mitigated by yet more love. In another's hands, this might seem saccharine, but here it's powerful, particularly when paired with deeply expressive, snapshot-like illustrations of people in a broad range of body types and skin tones. Though some of the individual lines might be confounding, the overall sense of comfort and hopefulness they elicit is deeply felt and genuinely uplifting. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Long and De la Peña are each powerhouses on their own. Together, they'll be unstoppable. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

De la Peña's prose poem speaks right to young children. "In the beginning there is light/ and two wide-eyed figures standing/ near the foot of your bed,/ and the sound of their voices is love," he opens as an interracial couple looks down at a crib. The rest of de la Peña's poem is accompanied by images of families and friends of many different ages and appearances who live in cities and in rural or warm places, such as the group of men seen throwing horseshoes under palm trees. The expressions worn by Long's characters and the way their shoulders are stooped with care make them seem full of love, even when they're playing instruments or fishing. It's not always smooth sailing, and sometimes scary things happen ("One day you find your family/ nervously huddled around the TV"), but comfort is there. "It's okay, it's okay, it's love," says a grown-up offering a child an embrace. People often talk to children about love; in these pages, they can see and feel what it's like. And there's plenty for everybody. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Jan.) Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 2–5—How do we love and care for one another? Award-winning author de la Peña sets out not only to count the ways but also to help young people recognize and take these tender mercies to heart, especially when times are tough and beyond the control of the adults around them. He defines love in multiple sensory images, brilliantly interpreted and expanded upon in evocative mixed media paintings. Long's use of light and shadow are particularly effective, with love seeming to illuminate and embrace the diverse cast of characters. The spare lyrical text describes the music of parents' voices at the foot of the bed, the colors of the night sky above a family's trailer, or the echo of laughter as kids run through summer sprinklers as just a few of the brighter examples. Yet, small kindnesses can come when least expected, on the streets as fire alarms blare or when trusted adults behave badly and all seems lost. Learning to recognize love in the spirit and actions of others and in one's mirror reflection are among the most important and powerful lessons that life (and this book) can impart. The author ventures that "when the time comes for you to set off on your own," it isn't mere luck that will ensure one's success; it's the ability to accept and to give love that will make all the difference. VERDICT This heartfelt and sensitively rendered picture book meditation begs to be shared and discussed with children, especially those with the maturity and life experience to appreciate the nostalgic tone and the nonlinear and philosophical musings. Spread the love.—–Luann Toth, School Library Journal Copyright 2017 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Illustrations and easy-to-read text celebrate the bonds of love that connect us all.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A heartfelt celebration of love by the Newbery Medal-winning author of Last Stop of Market Street and the best-selling illustrator of Of Thee I Sing depicts how people from all walks of life share a universal bond that supports and connects us in the face of fear and hardship. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER"[A] poetic reckoning of the importance of love in a child's life . . . eloquent and moving."—People "Everything that can be called love -- from shared joy to comfort in the darkness -- is gathered in the pages of this reassuring, refreshingly honest picture book."—The New York Times Book Review, Editors' Choice / Staff Picks From the Book Review“Lyrical and sensitive, ‘Love’ is the sort of book likely to leave readers of all ages a little tremulous, and brimming with feeling.”—The Wall Street JournalFrom Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña and bestselling illustrator Loren Long comes a story about the strongest bond there is and the diverse and powerful ways it connects us all."In the beginning there is light and two wide-eyed figures standing near the foot of your bed and the sound of their voices is love....A cab driver plays love softly on his radiowhile you bounce in back with the bumps of the city and everything smells new, and it smells like life."In this heartfelt celebration of love, Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña and bestselling illustrator Loren Long depict the many ways we experience this universal bond, which carries us from the day we are born throughout the years of our childhood and beyond. With a lyrical text that's soothing and inspiring, this tender tale is a needed comfort and a new classic that will resonate with readers of every age.