I Love You Like...
I Love You Like...
I love you . . .
Like raindrops love a puddle,
Like moss loves a tree,
Like mushrooms love the shade,
Like fur loves a cuddle.
I Love You Like . . ., by Lori Joy Smith, is a deliciously satisfying read-aloud picture book for toddlers and their loved ones. This book deserves to become a modern classic.
In four short verses with a line every page or two, Smith builds a powerful, poetic tribute to the uniqueness of love. While I Love You Like . . . lacks an overarching narrative, its reflective nature provides more than enough stimulation to engage readers. The quirky comparisons Smith uses to build her similes will keep the pages turning by forcing readers to stop and think, then smile and agree. Each line delivers a delightful surprise—and invites readers to develop their own comparisons to describe their own unique loves.
The illustrations—in Smith’s now-familiar whimsical, cartoonish style—extend the text by shaping each verse around one of the four seasons. Further, the repeated visual foregrounding of a young girl and the garden gnome she brings everywhere subtly suggest that the speaker (i.e., the “I” of I Love You Like . . .) is a young person. In conjunction with the sophistication of the similes, this focus implies that young people such as the readers of this book are capable of both producing and appreciating nuanced, expressive, and creative insights into the most powerful human emotion. As a result, I Love You Like . . . is an extremely child-centered text with the potential to empower its readers.
I Love You Like . . . would make a perfect gift in almost any situation; it would also make a highly effective anchor for Language Arts classroom activities related to poetry and creative writing. I Love You Like . . . deserves a place in every library, classroom, and bedside bookshelf.
Michelle Superle is an Assistant Professor at the University of the Fraser Valley where she teaches children’s literature and creative writing courses. She has served twice as a judge for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award and is the author of Black Dog, Dream Dog and Contemporary, English-language Indian Children’s Literature (Routledge, 2011).