Friday, September 23, 2011

Love Waves

Written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells
Candlewick, 2011
$15.99, ages 3-7, 32 pages

Ribbons of love drift across the sky from Mommy and Daddy to Little Bunny in this sweet, reassuring tale by the beloved creator of the Max and Ruby stories.

Each day Mommy and Daddy take turns going to work and sending "love waves," tender thoughts blown on a breeze, to their little bunny back home.

Like memories of things said so many times before, the waves remind Little Bunny that no matter where his parents go, their hearts are always with him.

"Be brave," Mommy tells Little Bunny as she kneels down to hug him goodbye in the morning, then waves goodbye from the sidewalk. Up above at the apartment window in Daddy's arms, Little Bunny waves with one paw as the other clings to Daddy's neck.

"As I leave, I see you wave. / I have to go where I must be…" she calls back.

At the cafe where she works, serving cookies, cakes and tea, Mommy is distracted by thoughts of her little bunny. She wonders what he's up to -- "Swinging high above the trees? / Eating honey with your peas?" -- and even thinks for moment that she sees him outside.

But it's not her bunny pattering by the cafe window in a slicker. It's "someone else, / racing off on someone else's feet." At her first chance to serve a customer outside, Mommy sends love waves through the air, and Wells poetry too twirls and dances.

"Around the world, around the sun, / they fly a thousand miles or one," she writes, as swirls of kisses in metallic sea green swoosh across the pages and Mommy prepares to return home for the day.

Little Bunny knows what to do right before she arrives; her words drift into his memory. "Listen for my turning key. / Find our chair and wait for me."

Then it's Daddy's turn to go to work, with a kiss and a wave from the sidewalk below. And, it's Mommy and Little Bunny who wave goodbye at the window.

Daddy walks down to the subway as the sky darkens to cobalt then he climbs up to the highest floor of a city building.

He too can't stop thinking of his little bunny. When the telephone rings, he wonders if it could be him, and whether Little Bunny is trying to button his shirt or tie his shoe. He opens the window to a starry night and sings their pirate song to the breeze.

"I send love waves speeding, / flying as fast as birds, / catching rides in taxis…," he says, as they wash through the air and up to Little Bunny's window. His words, like "silvery ribbons," call out: "Daddy is coming. He's on his way."

That night, all snug in their house, Mommy and Daddy relax in their robes and comfy chairs in the front room and down the hall their little bunny drifts off to sleep in his crib as moonlight floods in from his window.

Even now, when Little Bunny is so near, ribbons of love sail out of their hearts to his, as the poem drifts along like a lullaby.

 "Let them fall…/ like twinkles on your pillow / and in your sleeping hand, / spilling over the hills of bed, / warm as island sand."

Like love waves, the lines of this poem will make your chest swell and by the last page, as the poem crests, you'll feel all that emotion come pouring out.

This is a dear book to read whenever you have to be away from your children; by the time you're done reading it, they'll be adding "love waves" to their goodbyes.

(Fun note: "Love waves" are also waves of energy that move along the surface of Earth during an earthquake; they get their name from the British mathematician who modeled them, A.E.H. Love.)

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