TITLE: And I Love You
AUTHOR: Ruth Krauss
ILLUSTRATOR: Steven Kellog
PUBLISHED BY: Orchard Books, October 2010
I cannot possibly express my excitement when I saw a Steven Kellogg book staring at me on the top of the new release shelf. I think Kellogg is especially beloved of children from my generation, since he was most popular in the mid to late 80's, and we all grew up talking about Jimmy's troublesome Boa. But, he's still alive (I really shouldn't be surprised by this--he's actually in his 60's) and producing books. And they are wonderful.
I get the feeling this was a special project for him. The text by the brilliant Ruth Krauss was originally published in 1987 as Big and Little. And Kellogg's masterful vibrant illustrations breathe new immediacy into Krauss' sweet little poem, which begins:
Big forestsI wish I could show you the illustrations. They are painterly, vibrant, abstract at times, soaring and powerful. Some reviewers caution that children won't understand them, but as I was reading them, I was reminded of the stirring images in (oh, my favorite!) The Runaway Bunny--the mother becomes the wind and the clouds and the tree. Those images were odd and confused me as a child, but they also stayed with me, and had a powerful affect on my understanding of what it means to be a mother. Kellogg's images are likewise powerful and provocative; if not wholly understandable to a small child--they certainly won't scare him, and they might such inspire him with wonder.
Love little trees
Love little flowers
Love little monkeyshines
And I love you.
I highly recommend this book. It is a departure from Kellogg's rambunctious silliness, but a welcome departure. (I think it would be a wonderful bedtime book.)