“Love Is” by Diane Adams, illustrated by Claire Keane
Terri Schlichenmeyer | OW contributor | 3/27/2017, 11:52 a.m.
Mama calls you her little ducky.
She says she loves you and you really know it. You know because she takes care of you, makes sure you’ve got snacks and toys, teaches you, and keeps you safe. Mama loves you very much, and in the new book “Love Is” by Diane Adams, illustrated by Claire Keane, you’ll see how love works.
When you were just a little baby, almost no bigger than a duckling and very breakable, Mama snuggled you and comforted you when you were scared. Time and again, she got out of bed in the middle of the night to feed you, or to hold you when you cried. Maybe you even slept right next her all night long.
Like a soft baby duck, you were tucked in snug and woke with the sun. That was when Mama gave you breakfast, cleaned up after you, and gave you a bath. You took to the water like, well, just like a duck.
As you grew, Mama sat with you to watch your favorite TV shows. She played with you and taught you games. She made sure you didn’t fall and she helped you to be brave when you didn’t want to be brave at all. She made sure you were strong and smart – definitely smart enough to start doing things all by yourself.
Much as she loves spending time with you, there’s something Mama doesn’t like to think about: one day, you’ll be a big grown kid and though you’ll still need your Mama, you’ll go off to college, get married, and maybe have a little ducky of your own. That means Mama will miss you and she might be a bit sad.
Ah, but you’ll be back. You love Mom just as much as she loves you. It’s just that “even ducklings, like the seasons, have to change.”
But some things never change. Like love, they stay the same forever - and sometimes, they “grow some, too.”
Let me surprise you here: “Love Is” isn’t merely a book for small children.
I absolutely saw this book as something a mom will hold dear, and that’s because author Diane Adams and illustrator Claire Keane have created a story that speaks loudly to a mother’s love. The little girl in this book is adorable, and her concern for the duckling she finds is so incredibly sweet; Keane perfectly portrays the loving care she gives to her new baby, while Adams moves the story forth, telling a human tale in the form of a little rhyme to match the artwork. We see the wistfulness of the girl as she realizes that she must let her duckling go, the sadness of knowing she did the only right thing, and the joyfulness when the baby returns to the apart-nest.
There’s no doubt in my mind that 3-to-5-year-olds will love a read-aloud of this book but the real audience is with new mothers and moms-to-be. For them, “Love Is” is everything it’s quacked up to be.