The way I love you by David Bedford

cover image

Ill. by Ann James. Little Hare Books, 2015. ISBN 9781760123956
(Age: Baby) Recommended. Board book, Animals, Family. That's the way I love you is the refrain used at the end of every three phrases, telling of the love and companionship shared between a small child and her dog. They do many things together, play games, run around, share food, dress up, jump, share secrets, cuddle up and read, then fall asleep, secure in the knowledge that each is there for the other. The list of activities they share builds up through the day, waking and putting on the dog's lead, playing, then having lunch, the afternoon bath and then bedtime. The sequences will remind the reader of their own routines during the day. Themes of sharing, of fun and play, are all surrounded by the love the two companions have for each other and all readers will share that feeling as the book is read to them by a loving parent or friend.
Ann James' illustrations are beautiful, adding to the spare words, giving a deeper level of meaning to the text. Her joyous child's face parallels that of the lovely dog, with the exuberant activities slowing down towards the end of the book as they fall asleep. Movement is masterfully depicted with a few lines and brushes of colour, adding to the mesmerising effect of the story. I love the whole book, and I am sure all kids who hear the story, handle the board book, and look at the pictures will too.
Fran Knight