Monday, May 11, 2009

More More More

Little Guy is a blonde toddler whose father has atrocious fashion sense -- baggy yellow T-shirt tucked into green short-shorts over pasty white legs, flip-flops and pot-belly. It's quite a look. But it doesn't matter what people on the street would think of his get-up, because he's Little Guy's own daddy and he knows how to scoop Little Guy up and kiss his belly, making the little boy laugh and laugh and ask for "More. More. More."
"More More More," Said the Baby: 3 Love Stories is by Vera B. Williams, and these are love stories. Children's love for their parents is blind (at least it is for toddlers, if not for teenagers), and this book celebrates the exuberance of that love, even if some of the adults are rather style-challenged.
Little Pumpkin is an African-American toddler with a white grandma who looks like she's still in her bathrobe and nightie. Why not? She kisses Little Pumpkin's toes and cuddles him tight. Sleepy Little Bird and her mama are Latina or Pacific-Islander, judging from the pictures, and they engage in a tender going-t0-bed ritual. If the multiculturalism feels a little forced, the affection, joy, and closeness these pairs show for each other is authentic and infectious. Williams accurately captures the physical playfulness that occurs between very young children and their caretakers, and the pleasure that children take in being "caught" and smothered with love by an adult they trust.
The book is also easy and fun to read aloud, with an upbeat rhythm and the repetition little kids love. The illustrations are almost garishly colorful -- but in a good way, an exuberant, irrepressible way that mirrors the joyousness of the text.