Anna Pignataro, Our Love Grows, Scholastic, 1 March 2015, $16.99, 24pp., ISBN: 9781743626269
Baby panda asks mother ‘when will I be big?’ and the book is a reply to that question. Through the pages that follow baby panda is shown how he grows and changes and that therefore everything is slightly different from what it was before. His toy is now smaller, the tree is bigger, his paw print is no longer tiny and his ‘Blanky’ used to cover all of him but now definitely doesn’t.
Pignataro has used rhyming text with an occasional hiccup in the rhythm to describe changes in baby panda’s world and the results of time passing. This is very much a celebration of the mother/child bond. Baby panda, by the way, is gender neutral, so a parent can comfortably share it with any child.
The pandas look very much like stuffed toys. I am not sure if this is intentional, but it does create a distance between the reader and the idea expressed in the text. Colours are soft tones of grey, green, blues and browns. The setting is neutral northern hemisphere with fairy tale red and white mushrooms, pyramid shaped hills and squirrels living in holes in the trees. The conclusion where Mama Panda and child are afloat in a boat is a little puzzling but maybe it symbolizes setting off on life’s journey? A gentle look at parent/child love.
reviewed by Mia Macrossan