Plot: This story begins with a timeless theme: “All mommies love their babies.” Each page then describes a mommy animal who loves her baby animal, and helps young children count from 1-10.
Point of View: 1st person (although it could be 3rd person until the final page)
Theme: Babies, mommies, mothers, children, love, affection, animals, baby animals, numbers, counting, board books
Literary Quality: This board book uses a popular theme among children’s books – animals and their babies – to convey a simple and universal message: all mothers love their children. Repetion of the “Mommy…loves…” phrase on each page with different types of animals provides a soothing rhythm for babies. In addition to the more commonly seen animal pairs such as cats and kittens, dogs and puppies, Gutman includes pairings of less familiar animals and their babies such as hedgehogs, mice, and fish. The number of babies in each illustration increases from one to ten, accompanied by the same printed number painted in the corner of each page. These details, along with Hallensleben’s bold and colorful oil paintings of the animals, make this book a wonderful choice for infants and toddlers. Interestingly, the original French title, Les Chiffres (Hachette Jeunesse, 2001), puts more emphasis on the counting and concept aspect of this book than its English translation, which focuses on the motherly love element.
Audience: Ages 0-4. This is a board book babies can grow with, and parents might even learn a couple of new baby animal names!
Personal reaction: Mommy Loves is the first board book I picked out as an expectant mother, and I look forward to sharing this sweet and gentle story with my baby. I love the combination of Hallensleben’s rich paintings, the simple and comforting text with some unusual animal choices, and the counting concept.