What I like most

Mary Murphy, 1961-

Book - 2020

A little girl observes one by one, the things that bring her joy. But even after her jam jar becomes empty and the shoes grow too small and the pencil is all used up, one thing will never change.

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Location Call Number   Status
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Picture books
Somerville, Massachusetts : Candlewick Press 2020.
Main Author
Mary Murphy, 1961- (author)
Other Authors
Cheng-Liang Zhu, 1948- (illustrator)
First U.S. edition
Item Description
"First published by Walker Books Ltd. (U.K.) 2019" -- colophon.
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 28 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

In this wonderfully illustrated picture book, a little girl expresses what she likes most in this world. She loves the fresh apricot jam made by her grandmother. She loves her flashy shoes that light up. She loves the river, french fries, her teddy bear, and most of all her mother. As the world changes around her, from neighbors moving to her mother having another baby, the girl finds joy in familiar objects while showing awareness that her opinions (and favorite things) may also change one day--and that's OK. Children learning to read will benefit from this book's repeated text patterns, easy-to-read sight words, and picture clues. Each double-page spread reveals a new favorite item ("It is what I like most in the world. Except for . . .") that unseats whatever came before. Cheng-Liang's artwork highlights the girl's perspective, sweetly showing the world as she sees it and her diminutive size within it. Robust watercolors depict relatable scenes and childhood experiences to which youngsters will readily respond. This is one destined for the favorites shelf.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In a lilting, lighthearted voice, a girl with neat black braids speaks to readers as she looks out her window: "I see the mailman at the red gate./ I see a blackbird in my tree/.... This window is what/ I like most in the world." A page turn, and she's shown with a piece of jammy toast: "Except for apricot jam..../ Apricot jam is what I like most in the world." Her flashing shoes, a nearby river, and the pencil she draws with all take a turn as the child's favorite thing even as she sees that the objects may change with time. She may outgrow her shoes; the river, Heraclitus-tinged, "races along"; her pencil "will be all used up, and it will disappear." At last she considers the person she likes best: "you are what I like/ the very, very most in the world." Zhu (Benny Bear Learns a Lesson) uses delicate lines and watercolors to render sturdy, appealing figures living amid lots of cozy domestic details: a painted dish, a plaid coat. Murphy (Crocopotamus) sensitively broaches the prospect of ephemerality while assuring children that, for now, their pleasures are theirs to enjoy. Ages 3--7. (Apr.)

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Review by School Library Journal Review

PreS-K--A little girl lists the things she likes most in the world, along with all the reasons she likes them best. Her favorite thing, and the most important, is saved for last. With large, vibrant watercolor and pencil illustrations, each page showcases an item the girl in the story loves. The main character is Asian, and the cast is diverse. The images are soft and inviting, giving off a feeling of coziness and comfort. The bold, simple text is easily accessible to young readers and provides relatable favorites, from light-up shoes to beloved teddy bears. On each page, the girl states that the item is the thing she likes most, until the subsequent page in which she indicates she likes the next item just a little bit more, much like a young reader might have multiple favorites. A highlight of the story is that the little girl appreciates simple things, such as homemade jam and the river near her home, offering readers a reminder that sometimes small things are the most worthwhile. In the end, her favorite thing is her mom, and she expresses gratitude for her mother's support and love, even when they argue, beautifully displaying the care between a parent and child. VERDICT A good choice for young readers seeking a heartwarming story.--Kaitlin Malixi, Kensington Health Sciences Academy, Philadelphia

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

A small child describes "what I like most in the world"…that is, except for the other thing, and also the other thing, and so on. A window to look out of, apricot jam, new shoes with blinking lights, the river….Author Murphy uses poetic language to highlight the important features of each object from a child's point of view. Each item ends with the same line: "what I like most in the world." This leads, after a page turn, to the next item, which begins: "Except for…." While the ideas and language remain simple and childlike, an additional pattern begins to emerge as this unnamed child with East Asian features details each item: Everything changes with time. From the view out the window to a colored pencil that grows shorter with use, a feeling of impermanence pervades the text. Even items that inherently don't change, like a book or a teddy bear, become different because of the child's relationship to them. However, the last item the child shares breaks the pattern, the thing that "I like the very, very most in the world," and readers know that there is one important thing in this child's life that will never change. Artist Zhu accompanies these odes to everyday life with watercolor and pencil, illustrating the text faithfully. A simple yet sweet introduction to impermanence and change in all things…except one. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.