Perfect Picture Book Friday – Guess How Much I Love You

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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?

Guess How Much I Love You

by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram

Published by Walker Books, 1994

Ages: 2-5

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.

For more books and resources please check out Perfect Picture Book Friday on Susanna Leonard Hill’s Blog.

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45 Responses to Perfect Picture Book Friday – Guess How Much I Love You

  1. Loni Edwards says:

    This is an absolute favorite of mine! Yes, I am a sentimental soul also. I love books that make my heart swell. Great review and great addition to the list!

  2. Nessa Morris says:

    Great choice! This is one of my favorite books. I’m going to have I get it out and read it to my kids. It’s been a while since I’ve last read it.

  3. This is one of our favorite books in our family! It is a great pick for PPBF! I agree with Ms. Morris I am going to get it our and read it!

  4. I’ll have to admit, this came out when my daughter was much older, so I never read it to her. So, I haven’t read it and should. There was another similar book we had, that she loved as a young child. Such a lovely choice for PPB Friday!

  5. Of course this is a must for every child’s library! We’ve read it thousands of times and it never gets old. My daughter has a CD with the author reading the story, followed by lullabye music. She’s been listening to that CD at bedtime since she was an infant. I finally managed to get it digitally so that I’ll never lose it. I expect I’ll listen to it and cry on the day she goes to college!

  6. I’m amazed this one hasn’t been reviewed until now. We received a copy as a gift before my older son was born. It’s a beautiful testament to a parent’s love. I find it interesting that so many people have chosen this theme this week.

  7. Joanna says:

    Kristen, I have also noticed the trend today. Just like there were lots of boy books a couple of weeks back. I suspect the PPPF group is in synch with one another!

  8. I absolutely LOVE this book, Joanna! It makes me teary every time I read it 🙂 How really do you measure the love between parent and child? This is a book I had fully intended to add to the list myself, but kept getting distracted by other books and haven’t gotten to it. It’s a book I give every new baby I know 🙂 Thanks so much for adding it to our list – it is definitely one of the best!

  9. Amy Dixon says:

    This is a favorite baby shower gift for us, too. The board book version is just right for little hands. Great choice, Joanna!

  10. This is one of my favorite books! It is also one that I have given at many baby showers.

  11. Thanks for sharing why this book is important to you. We’ll have to check it out. I love this: “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.” Plus Maeve has a great idea to give this one as a gift.

  12. Heather says:

    I have never thought about this as a a book that would apply to adults in love, but, yes! We received this one when my oldest was born (almost 15 years ago!) and all three of my boys have loved it. Thank you for adding it to the list.

  13. I have seen this book, but haven’t read it. Obviously I’m missing out! Thanks for sharing from the heart, Joanna.

  14. My cousin just had a baby shower and instead of buying a card to accompany the gift we were suppose to buy a children’s book. I totally forgot about this book. It would have been perfect. It is now etched in my mind in case another opportunity arises. Great review Joanna!

  15. I have never seen this book. It sounds and looks adorable. Thankyou for sharing how you came upon it Joanna…. lovely.

  16. Hi Joanna,
    This book is one of my favorites…I recommend it in Show Me How because it helps young children feel appreciated, loved and accepted. Thanks for the resources and activities…In my book, there is a milk carton stacking rabbit craft project and a Nutbrown Salad cooking activity.
    Children really do need daily (hourly 🙂 reminders from parents that they are loved…reading this book with a child opens the door of opportunity for discussion and lots of hugs. 🙂

  17. I love this book — it is such a sweet story. Perfect for Perfect Picture Book Friday. Great review.

  18. Joanna says:

    Thank you, Margaret.

  19. Laura Renauld says:

    There’s nothing wrong with sappy, feel-good children’s books 🙂 I’ve always been convinced that children’s books are written as much for adults as for children. They will keep us young! I’m so happy to have joined the PPBF club!

    • Joanna says:

      Hi, Laura, and welcome among the PPPFers! You are, right, of course, picture books are most definitely written for adults too! Thanks for the sap-support. 🙂

  20. Leslie Rose says:

    Love this book. I like to give this as a newborn baby present.

  21. Penny Klostermann says:

    I haven’t read this. Obviously I HAVE to check it out! Thanks for the great review.

  22. My kids use to love this book when they were toddlers. We use to play that game and sometimes still do.

  23. I love this book (and the All Year Round series). How precious the love between mother and child!

  24. I am a sentimental slob, so this is a book I will buy. What a wonderful story. And such a feel good book to enjoy with the family. Thanks for sharing it. I am sorry I am late with my comment but I was finishing a short story I wrote about our son Christopher that I hope to sub to an anthology. *waving*

  25. I’ve seen this book around but have never gotten around to reading it yet. I love that you shared how meaningful this book is to you. There are really rare ones like these that we simply can not let go of, regardless of our transient states of being and moving from place to place. I may leave my clothes behind, but the books stay with me. 🙂

  26. Joanna says:

    Oh, yes, Myra, I have a handful of books that have travelled the seas with me; few, but very precious!

  27. Pingback: Best Buy Guess How Much Love You Nutbrown

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