Love Wide as the World

Echoing through this gentle book is one small question that manages to encompass the Earth’s seven continents. How Far Do You Love Me?, by Lulu Delacre (Arrorró mi niño: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games, 2004),was inspired by a game she played with her daughters. The author/illustrator demonstrates not only the long reach of love but also the power of simplicity.howfarcover-330

Delacre’s series of answers ushers readers into family scenes that range from the Vieques beach in Puerto Rico to the Grand Canyon, from Machu Picchu in Peru to the Serengeti Plain in Tanzania. Each setting features a double spread of pleasing pastel paintings of children and caring parents in their native land, which is identified by name at the bottom of one of the two pages. Delacre’s language is brief, lyrical, and resonant: “I love you to the crest of the desert/ where the wind sweeps sand from the dunes …/ to the fields of flowers/ that lace lavender through the air.” (The locales for these lines were the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt and Provence, France.)

Opening and closing this warm picture book are images of a mother and son, who responds, “I love you to the moon!” The story’s final image features a starry sky, with a small, violet spot image of the mother kissing her sleeping son while affirming, “And I love you farther than the stars, to the space beyond the space we know, where light becomes love that nestles deep, deep inside you.” Sweeping beneath that image is a bright-white swirl where the question is repeated in a wide range of languages. The author’s note and a map of the continents follow. Delacre has rewarded parents and young children with a stellar bedtime story.

Thanks to Lee & Low for providing a review copy.

Also see …

my review of Little Treasures, another picture book celebrating families around the world,
and this interesting interview with Lulu Delacre on Lee & Low’s website.

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