How Much Love Can a Heart Hold?
by Angela Panayotopulos
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Print Length: 32 pages
Reviewed by Toni Woodruff
A warmhearted children’s book about loving your child and their incoming sibling
Getting a sibling can be a tough task for any kid. Not only do they have to share their parents’ love, but they have to do it all the time. As a parent, it’s natural (and perfectly okay!) to be worried about it. What can you do to prepare them? Maybe it’s time to get a little strategic before their little sister or brother arrives.
How Much Love Can a Heart Hold? is reassurance to the child that you love them now and will love them always, even when they start having to share that love with their sibling. The rhyming verse in this book is original and told with an artful poetic flair. They’re not always the easiest words, concepts, and rhymes, but in some ways, this complements the complexities of the actual situation at hand. It’s an excuse for parents to tell their kid aloud that they love them without showing them exactly the changes that are incoming with their new little sister or brother.
“My heart is like a magic toy box; my love is the toys that are yours.”
The illustrations, instead, appear as friendly, young animals in their natural habitats, with the verses displayed on soft pastel backgrounds. The imagery is creative and dreamlike, something lovely for the child to look at as they venture through the abstract concept of sharing your love.
What they see is love in animal-family environments, and what they hear in the rhymes is that they are loved and a new friend is coming. There are a number of creative additions stacked on top of the natural imagery, too, like trees growing out of a crescent moon, that can capture a child’s imagination and show them the beauty of abstract feelings and new things.
“The more it’s used, the bigger it gets, a muscle with power that multiplies.”
Because of the somewhat advanced vocabulary and the indirect imagery, this book seems best fitted for children ages 4-6 rather than toddlers. But also, if you talk to your child about what you see displayed (the animal families), toddlers could engage and understand more of it. Some verses do stumble over others, and they may repeat concepts occasionally, but overall, the poetry is rhythmic, strong, and oozing with parental love.
I’d have a hard time imagining children not getting warm and fuzzy feelings while gliding through the soft-colored pages of this book. It’s a scary new feeling for a little one to experience jealousy about their parents, but with books like this, it could help. It also doesn’t hurt that they can get some cuddles while you’re reassuring them that they are loved deeply and always will be.
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