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“[C]aptured in richly colored gouache illustrations by Ellis [and] distinctive hand-lettering . . . [t]his moving, but never cloying, book-a specialty of author Barnett-will have children putting their inferencing skills to work. . . . Ellis’s subtle details are gratifying-especially the grandmother’s cozy pink house, the book’s beating heart. Wholly lovable.”-The Horn Book Magazine
“[A] sweet and timeless lesson.”-Kirkus Reviews
“This poetic story appeals to a wide range of readers. . . Together, the narrative and illustrations are well balanced. . . Young children and their families will enjoy the blend of silliness and beauty in this memorable depiction of one boy’s quest to learn more about love.”-School Library Journal, starred review
“[With] some pleasingly humorous touches along the way . . . Ellis’ gouache art is familiarly spare yet gemütlich, picking up the text’s folkloric mood as the boy travels. [What Is Love?
] could lead to some interesting discussions about how we all define love.”-The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“Gouache paintings by Ellis (In the Half Room
) give the story a fairy tale atmosphere, and a sense of theater, too, as rakishly costumed characters pose like actors on a stage. Barnett (A Polar Bear in the Snow
) injects humor by making the book’s hero honest to a fault. . . . Ellis’s spreads . . . retain her distinctive look throughout-an aesthetic perfectly suited to the tender moment when the boy returns home to the person who answers his question.”-Publishers Weekly
"When a boy sets out to discover What Is Love?
, many voices respond, but he must find his own answers in this touching, timeless affirmation of familial and familiar bonds."- Shelf Awareness, starred review
“[B]oth serious and amusing. . . moving. . . timeless. . . The shapes and patterns of Ellis’s art, combined with the tenor of Barnett’s narration, give this book an air of mystery, whatever love is or isn’t.”—The New York Times
“Barnett’s story is profound and accessible, a tale infused with a sense of adventure and a timeless quality. Carson Ellis’ illustrations add color and energy to the proceedings. Thanks to her fanciful, detailed depictions, each character the boy encounters has a distinct personality. This journey will inspire readers to consider the book’s central question and come up with answers of their own.”-BookPage, starred review
“Lovely and lyrical . . . Flat gouache paintings provide the perfect ethereal setting for the fairy tale-like story. . . . The words and images work together to create layers of thought and understanding, making [What Is Love?
] rewarding to a wide range of readers.”—Booklist
, starred review