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I Love You Just Enough Review by Tess Hamre

Author: Robbyn Smith van Frankenhuyzen
Illustrator: Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen
Sleeping Bear Press
315 Eisenhower Parkway, Suite 200
Ann Arbor, MI 48108

I think Sleeping Bear Press is one my favorite publishing companies. I have loved every book I’ve seen published by them and I Love You Just Enough is no exception. With beautiful full color illustrations and a moving story, this book will capture the hearts of both parents and children.

Children reading at a 3rd grade level or above will enjoy reading it to themselves but this book makes an excellent read aloud for children ages 6 to 9. The difference between a really good picture book and a great picture book, in my opinion, is whether or not the parent or older sibling wants to read a book aloud to the target child over and over again. This is one of the great ones.

I Love You Enough is the 5th book in the series by this husband and wife team who live at Hazel Ridge farm where they raised their daughters Heather and Kelly. This series is inspired by their life on this 40 acre farm.

It’s the last day of school and now Heather is home for the summer. Her father asks her to help him do some weeding. She collects treasures such as stones and egg shells and thinks weeding is fun and then something catches her eye. She finds a fuzzy frightened duckling hiding among some prairie flowers. Heather asks her father if she can bring him home and take care of him. He warns her about how hard it will be since it would be difficult to provide what he needs. He goes on to tell her that the most difficult part will be not loving him too much. Heather reassures dad that she can love him just enough.

The story progresses through the summer and the reader watches the both the duck and the relationship grow. Did Heather love him just enough? Does she love enough him to let him go when he needs to join the flock?

Although this is a children’s book, I enjoyed it as much as my daughter. As a mother this story reached right through my chest and grabbed my heart and held it fast. I found myself wondering if I love my little ducks too much or if I love them just enough. I have one who is stretching her wings and starting to fly. Do I love her just enough to let her soar?

I love the full color illustrations. They are as beautiful as the story and reflect the beauty of each moment of that summer and early fall. Though not realistic in the sense of photographs they reflect the reality of the people and objects depicted. The colors are soft and set the tone for warm, sunny, summer days.

This is a book that can be enjoyed simply for the pleasure of reading it over and over but would also make a great literature supplement for an animal study or farm study for young children. It’s a treasure of a book.

Product Review by Tess Hamre, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June, 2014