HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Guess How Much I Love You
Author: Sam McBratney
Illustrator: Anita Jeram
Publisher: Candlewick Press, republished in 2008
ISBN-13: 978-0763641757 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0763641758 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0763642648 (Board book)
ISBN-10: 0763642649 (Board book)
ISBN-13: 978-0763653781 (Pop-up book)
ISBN-10: 0763653780 (Pop-up book)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 3 and up
Rating: 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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McBratney, Sam. Guess How Much I Love You (published in 1994 in the U.K. by Walker Books; republished in 1995 in the U.S. by Candlewick Press). This is the story of two Nutbrown Hares, Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare. Many assume that they are father and son, although they are never actually referred to as such. Little Nutbrown Hare asks Big Nutbrown Hare the question, “Guess how much I love you?”, and the book continues with a droll “I-can-do-anything-you-can-do-better” theme as the two use larger and larger measures to tell how much they love each other in answer to the question. The story is simple, but it effectively shows the love the two share for each other.
The book was a 1996 ALA Notable Children’s Book, has sold more than twenty million copies worldwide, and is published in 37 languages. It has been released in several different formats, suitable for children from age 1½ to 8 and was also made into a television show on the channel Disney Junior with the subtitle The Adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare. In 2007, two additional Nutbrown Hare books were published: When I’m Big and Colors Everywhere. In 2008, Let’s Play in the Snow appeared. And in 2009, A Surprise for the Nutbrown Hares completed the set. All five were published as a boxed “Board books library” in 2010, allowing children to enjoy the Nutbrown Hares all year long, from spring, through summer and autumn, to winter.
All children need reassurance that their parents’ love runs wide and deep. Sam McBratney, in the 57th book of his career, tells a bedtime story of sweet family love with humor, wisdom, and a delightful surprise at the end. Anita Jeram’s pen-and-wash illustrations are expressive and endearing. A small but sizeable minority objects to the book as being too competitive and showing that parents think that they are better than their children and have to prove it. However, the vast majority saw it as I do, simply a heartwarming and sweet expression of how much a father loves his son, although the rabbits are genderless, so it could be older and younger siblings, a mother and daughter, or even a grandparent and grandchild.