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I’ll Love You Forever by Owen Hart and illustrated by Sean Julian

This is a gentle picture book celebrating the love between a parent and child with the parent telling the child that he will love him always. These types of picture books are numerous, including Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, No Matter What by Debi Gliori, Love You Forever by Robert Munsch, I Love You As Much by Laura Krauss Melmed, I Love You, Little One by Nancy Tafuri, Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse, and endless others in the same vein.

The artwork, setting, and poetic verses make this book stand out from the crowd. A polar bear parent and cub travel through the Arctic over the course of a year. Neither the parent or cub are identified as male or female, but I thought of the adult as the mother. The double-page spreads show the bear and cub during the changing seasons of the year, accompanied by four lines of rhyming verse. The book opens in the winter showing the bears on snow and ice with whales, seals, and seabirds in the background and in the forest with beautiful snowflakes falling around them, then the scene changes as spring starts to slowly arrive, with buds peeking through the snow, followed by a flower-filled meadow in the summer, then onto fall with the splendid colors of the leaves of the forest, and finally onto another winter. With each season, the parent assures the cub of her love and that she will always be there. The soft, warm illustrations glow with beauty and the poetry is lovely and flows smoothly.

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