Every night at bedtime, we read Bernadette Rossetti-Shustak’s excellent book, I Love You Through and Through. If we’re cuddled together in my bed, Sprout will be sitting on my lap in her sleep sack, eagerly looking at the pages while Peanut snuggles the soft white comforter up over his legs and acts out the story. After I’ve read the book, it’s Peanut’s turn: he takes the book with a big grin, and he flips through and “reads” it to me and his sister, running his fingers over the pages and looking on with a critical eye as I take my turn acting out the story. Caroline Jayne Church’s illustrations of a sweet boy and his teddy bear make me think of my son when he was little(er), and, together with Rossetti-Shustak’s words, make me sure that he and his sister must know how very much I love them.
For the most part, I Love You Through and Through qualifies as a book with simple, high-contrast illustrations. Although it’s a board book, the background of each page looks like homemade paper with its inherent flecks and variation; the pages are smooth, but look textured. The background colors are different on the different pages. Each page features a picture of a little boy and his teddy bear and a line of text. The sizes of the illustrations vary from page to page; sometimes, the little boy’s face will take up an entire page, and sometimes he and his bear are darting across the very top of the page. For the most part, the pictures are easy to see and pop out well against the background; the contrast is sufficient that Peanut’s able to tell the story based on the pictures. (He tends to skip around a lot–going page-to-page from front to back isn’t his forte just yet–but he generally picks up what’s happening with the pictures to trigger his memory.)
So, you may ask–how do you act out a poem about how much you love your child? This is easier than you might think, and I think it’s partially responsible for how well Peanut knows the story. (Repetition + multiple learning modes (kinetic, visual, etc.) = success!) Here’s what we do if you’d like some ideas to get you started:
- If the book mentions a body part, we touch that body part. For “top side,” for instance, we pat our heads, and for “bottom side,” we pat our tushies.
- If the book mentions an emotion, we do sound effects for that emotion. Peanut does a fabulous sad face and faux sobs for “your sad side,” and we’re working on perfecting our “mad side” growls.
- For “running” and “walking,” we use our hands to make “stepping sounds” by hitting the bed–kind of like when you would do drum rolls on the floor as a kid. For running, you hit the bed fast, and for walking, you do it slow–the idea is that you’re making the sounds like your feet would make if you were running or walking.
My copy of this book isn’t twin vision just yet, but you can get a twin vision copy in contracted braille from Seedlings for $9 at http://www.seedlings.org/details.php?id=704&cat=0&search=I Love You Through and Through. I Love You Through and Through is a wonderful book that definitely deserves a space in your library.