I admit it – I am a totally sappy sentimentalist at heart! This book turns me completely gooey inside. While it is obviously for children, I was given a wee board book copy by a dear friend at a time of transitioning to yet another nation and language, and I treasure it and its message of love and security – especially as you don’t want to know how many times I have grieved at giving away books because of an international move. This little book just keeps on traveling with me. I think its message is for adults too. Who among us hasn’t known that first explosive flush of love, when it is hard to find those words to describe just how much we love someone?
by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram
Published by Walker Books, 1994
Themes: measuring love, comparisons, complicity
“Little Nutbrown Hare, who was going to bed, held on tight to Big Nutbrown Hare’s very long ears.”
There then proceeds a beautiful dialogue and demonstration between father and son about who loves whom the most, and how much!
As wide as Little Nutbrown Hare could stretch his arms to demonstrate his love for his daddy, Big Nutbrown Hare could stretch his arms wider. As high as Little Nutbrown Hare could hop to show his love, Big Nutbrown Hare could hop higher. There is no sense of competition here, though, as the response to this is, “That’s good hopping, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. I wish I could hop like that.” And he proceeds to find another physical way to demonstrate the proportions of his love. I so want to give away the beautiful finale, but I won’t! *sigh*
Why I like this Book: This book is shorter than most picture books, at 24 pages, but just shows how a complete, satisfying story can be told with such brevity. Whether you come from a healthy family or not, every child and every adult, I believe, will recognize that unique bond between parent and child displayed in this sweet story. What child hasn’t told, or wanted to tell, his/her parent “I love you this much,” stretching wide their arms? What parent hasn’t felt there are not words nor ways enough to express the depth of their love for their child? The text is sparse yet perfect, right down to the choice of Big and Little Nutbrown Hare. Jeram’s watercolors are gentle and capture the preciousness of this nighttime moment. This is one of my all time favorite stories for very young children. It is so simple yet so true to a child’s feelings. I want to write stories like this!
Activities/Resources: I think this is a lovely book for homeschooling and the first activity I would suggest is an acting out of the book – parent and child/ren together!
Candlewick Press has a great page of other activities here.