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I Love You the Purplest Hardcover – September 1, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Further probing the theme of her Mama, Do You Love Me?, Joosse's resonant tale spotlights two young sons on a fishing expedition with their mother; each boy is angling to be tops with Mom. Clearly an experienced peacemaker, Mama offers just the right answers when the boys inquire which of them, for example, is the best rower: "Why, Julian, you took the deepest strokes. And Max, your strokes were fastest." As she tucks them into bed that night, they each pose the ultimate question: "Who do you love best?" She loves one the "bluest," the other the "reddest"; it is up to presiding adults to explain how these add up to the "purplest." Though it hovers on the cloying, Joosse's image-laden narrative makes for a soothing bedtime read-aloud. Gracefully moving from naturalistic panoramas to close-ups of the cherubic-looking brothers, Whyte's (Boomer's Big Day) watercolors amplify the story's considerable emotional pitch. Combining lifelike images of the characters with abstract impressions of twilit skies or lakeside woods, the art encapsulates the lyricism of the text. Ages 3-8.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2. Two young brothers head out with their mother in a rowboat for an evening of fishing. They ask her to tell them who is better at digging worms, rowing, and catching fish, and later, back in their cabin at bedtime, they ask whom she loves the best. With each answer the caring mother assures both boys that they are equally skilled and equally loved. "I love you the bluest" she tells thoughtful, methodical Julian, "the color of a cave...splash of a waterfall...hush of a whisper." To peripatetic, energetic Max, she says, "I love you the reddest...the color of sky before it blazes into night." The final double-page spread, illustrating their cabin at night, is awash with purples; and so, she loves both "the purplest." The text effectively conveys movement with vigorous verbs and uses expressive phrases. Clues to each boy's character and temperament are provided. The glowing double-page watercolors, rendered in greens, blues, golds, reds, and purples, evoke the night's activities. The striking use of light, particularly the lantern in the boat and the stars, creates interest as do the effective compositions and varied perspectives. Occasionally some of the figures are awkwardly painted, but this is a minor flaw. Like the author's Mama, Do You Love Me? (Chronicle, 1991), this reassuring book, good for story time or one-to-one sharing, will encourage families to think of their own superlative expressions of love.?Cynthia K. Richey, Mt. Lebanon Public Library, Pittsburgh, PA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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And yet, despite the fact that I think it's just a tad bit on the sweet side for me, I do like it. This *is* a good way of talking to kids (even only children benefit from being specifically complimented on what they do instead of being generically told they're the "best"), and the message that there's value in everybody's actions (even if they aren't the "best") is a good one for kids to hear.
In addition, I love the illustrations. Stunning colors, and this book takes me to the country/lake she describes. It's a very soothing book!