Our love grows by Anna Pignataro
Scholastic, 2015. ISBN 9781743626269
(Age: 3+) Love, Families, Pandas, Growing. In the forest the baby panda, Pip, asks his mother when he will be big. She responds by pointing out all the things they know in the forest: trees once as high as Pip, have grown into huge trees, seasons have passed as flowers bloom and then their petals fall, just like the pinecones falling from the trees, and his toy, Birdie was once new and shiny but is now a little scruffy. Through rhyming phrases Piganataro shows the passage of time. Pip's blanket once covered all of him, but is now small, his footsteps in the snow were once very little, but now are much bigger, the songs they sang together seemed to take forever, just as their games once did. And just as he has grown so has their love.
This is a sweet story to read to younger children. Through it they will be reassured that they all grow, just like the trees and flowers. Their understanding of the passage of time and what happens to them will be enhanced, and with a parent or teacher discussions about life cycles can be developed. The idea that above all else the bond between parent and child is steadfast and loving, is paramount.
Pignataro's soft watercolour illustrations suit the topic admirably. The pale greens contrast with the softness of the brown trees and the water with its silky blues contrasts with the floating boat. The endpapers parallel the blanket that Pip uses as a young panda and many children will recognise the early need for such a prop, but one that is now left behind. Pignataro is the author of the popular Princess and Fairy series.