My fifteen month old and I have tended to gravitate towards books with rhythm and rhyme. Books that have a certain bounce to them are the ones that most often get read again and again (and again!). Recently though, we’ve started to share our story time together with a book that has neither of these qualities. What this book has, and has in a big way, is message.
I Love You, Stinky Face by Lisa McCourttakes place at bedtime and shows a boy getting tucked into bed by his mother. His mother tells him that she loves him and he, perhaps stalling for time or perhaps out of genuine need for reassurance, begins to ask his mother if her love is conditional. What if he was a smelly skunk, he asks? Would she still love him if he was abig scary ape? A slimy swamp monster?? Mom replies each time unswayed saying, “Then I would live by the swamp and take care of you always. I’d tell you, ‘I love you, my slimy swamp monster!’” The boy is left to fall asleep reassured of his mother’s love and this reader is left with a tear in her eye.
The beauty of this book lies in the message it lends to us parents. Parental love is not conditional. The book reminds us that our jobs are to love our children, no matter who or what they turn out to be: rock star or rocket scientist, lion tamer or librarian, smelly skunks or slimy swamp monsters. We will love them no matter what.
By Amy Brown