December 14, 2021

I Love You More

Written by Emil Sher
Illustrated by Barbara Reid
North Winds Press (Scholastic Canada)
32 pp.
Ages 0-8
December 2021/January 2022

We know that telling someone you love them is special but how to express the measure of that love? In Emil Sher's newest picture book, which could only have been given the depth of emotion that Barbara Reid's textured art could convey, it's a game of whimsical comparisons and heartfelt declarations that demonstrate that there are so many ways to love.
From I Love You More by Emil Sher, illus. by Barbara Reid
From an early morning greeting–"I love you more than flowers love noses" through breakfast and a walk to school, a mother and child express their love and witness those expressions by others. From the schoolyard to the classroom, and a mom's lunch on a park bench, there are so many vignettes that show connections and affection. Parents and caregivers are there for the children before school–"I love you more than laces love shoes"–and picking them up after school to return home, with everything showing closeness and linkages. ("I love you more than stars love wishes" and "I love you more than pianos love hands" were two of my favourites.) And as the day ends, with mum falling asleep on the couch, a child uses words and actions to express his love.
From I Love You More by Emil Sher, illus. by Barbara Reid
Emil Sher explains the word game that he and his family played comparing affection with a connected pairing like erasers and mistakes, runways and planes and answers and question marks. Not only does I Love You More communicate loads of messages of things that go together, it offers light-hearted word play off of which Barbara Reid's artwork bounces in delight. Using her trademark plasticine in bright colours and detailed settings inside homes, multi-storey buildings, schools and on streets, Barbara Reid gives life to Emil Sher's text. There a calico cat that cuddles, cleans and plays, neighbours that enjoy their balconies and children unique in their own ways. Not only do we see the city in all its glory, we see the life that gives and feels love.
From I Love You More by Emil Sher, illus. by Barbara Reid
The first reading of I Love You More will give young readers some laughs for the playful pairings and affection conveyed as well as the basis for playing their own word game. But subsequent readings–and there will be more readings–will give them opportunities to delve into the illustrations' details and give them food for thought about what it means to be connected.

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