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From award-winning author Stacy McAnulty comes a sweet story about love and what it's really all about.

What is love? Can you only express it in fancy meals, greeting cards, and heart-shaped chocolates? Kids will find love everywhere in this delightful book. It can be found in everyday moments such as baking cookies with grandma, notes from Mom in your lunchbox, or a family singing together on a car trip, and it isn't always what you expect!

With delightful illustrations by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff and sweetly simple prose by award-winning author Stacy McAnulty, this is the perfect book to teach children what love means, why it's important, and how they can spread the love in their daily lives.

32 pages, Hardcover

First published December 4, 2018

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Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

62 books9 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 69 reviews
Profile Image for Calista.
3,880 reviews31.2k followers
April 2, 2019
A simple story with a very simple, yet powerful message for beginning young kids 2-4. I very much enjoyed the artwork in this. It is really a little too simple, but what is here does ring true. Love is the simple things that we can all do.

The niece said this was for babies and gave it 1 star and the nephew thought it was young too, but he gave it 3 stars.
Profile Image for Juli.
1,879 reviews473 followers
January 10, 2019
Every year right after Christmas the commercialized Valentine's Day stuff appears in stores. Red and pink everywhere. Cute, mushy, suggestive. The word love splashed everywhere. But love isn't chocolates, cupcakes, bright greeting cards, stuffed animals or dinner out. It's so much more....

Stacy McAnulty's book about love shows that love is in everyday things....in our actions, words and caring for others. The illustrations carefully teach a lesson that love has nothing to do with a commercialized holiday....and everything to do with how we value those around us. Lovely book! I'm ordering a copy for my grand kids!

The Illustrations by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff are beautiful! Colorful, interesting and meaningful! The cover art pulled me in and got me to read this children's book. I'm glad I did....it really has an awesome message! I think my grand kids will really enjoy it!

This is the first book by Stacy McAnulty I've read. She has several others that Joanne Lew-Vriethoff also illustrated. I'm sure I will be reading and buying more!

**I voluntarily read a sample copy of this children's book. All opinions expressed are entirely myt own.**
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,113 reviews186 followers
February 27, 2019
American author Stacy McAnulty and Dutch illustrator Joanne Lew-Vriethoff, who previously collaborated on Brave and Beautiful , join forces again in this new picture-book examination of love. Describing all the things love requires, from bouquets of flowers to the finest chocolates, and all the ways in which it comes, the simple text here is paired with colorful artwork depicting a diverse range of children enacting their love...

Somehow, despite enjoying this team's Brave , I wasn't as wowed by this one. It's sweet enough, and I did appreciate the idea that homemade gifts are best, communicated largely through the artwork, which gently corrects the text, when it maintains that "love needs special presents and designer greeting cards." This disconnect is undoubtedly intentional, so the text above didn't bother me, as such - the designer greeting cards, for instance, are clearly being created by the kids themselves. Unfortunately, although its heart is in the right place, this one just didn't move me at all, and I didn't feel like it gave any insights into what love is. Tastes vary, of course, so some might appreciate Love as a corrective to the overly materialistic interpretation of Valentine's Day. I suppose it is to such readers that I would recommend it, although I think I prefer Sandra Boynton's Consider Love , if one is in the market for this sort of thing.
Profile Image for La Coccinelle.
2,245 reviews3,563 followers
November 9, 2019
From the team that brought us Beautiful comes this sweet picture book about love and the many ways we show it.

Like Beautiful, this book is highly dependent upon its illustrations. The text doesn't work on its own; in fact, it would come off as highly superficial and materialistic. Looking at the pictures is a must while reading this one. Lew-Vriethoff's adorable drawings show diversity and acceptance, and they're fun to look at, too. Older readers will definitely get more out of these books, as they'll be able to contrast the literal message of the words with the sweet sentiments that are highlighted by the pictures.

I enjoyed this one almost as much as Beautiful. It would be the perfect book to share with someone you love.

Quotable moment:

Profile Image for Stacie.
1,448 reviews94 followers
December 3, 2018
There are so many ways to show love and kindness to others. McAnulty continues her BRAVE and BEAUTIFUL books with one that focuses on love and how to share it in the simplest ways. Love can be a fancy dinner, even if it is just for your dog, some artwork for a teacher, sharing a chocolate chip while making cookies, or that first hug with your new baby sister. Love comes in many forms and is shared in many ways throughout our days. This simple book is a wonderful way to teach our youngest children the importance of sharing love and kindness with others and how easy it can be. 

The illustrations share a diverse group of children and adults from all races and abilities. There are children with glasses, in wheelchairs, with hair and without. What I loved most about the illustrations though is the joy that is expressed in the faces of both those giving love and receiving it. The love shared by giving of our time or gifts is obvious and is an easy way for kids to begin to understand the importance of empathy and sharing love. 

I even loved the illustration of a kitchen. It wasn't a perfect kitchen. There were lists, school papers, and homemade artwork hanging up. The counter was messy while cooking.  I appreciated the realistic image of a family kitchen which makes the kids able to fit in and see themselves doing some of the activities in the book. 

This book is perfect for celebrating Valentine's Day and teaching kids about the importance of kindness and loving each other.
Profile Image for Vera Godley.
1,717 reviews32 followers
February 1, 2019
Shortly, Valentine's Day will be front and center and kiddies will be filling out little Valentine cards for classmates. Sweethearts will rack their brains to find a special way to show their "love" for their sweetheart. Husbands will descend upon florists, sellers of chocolates, and card displays hopeful of getting the just right item to tell their wife he loves her. And the story of love and Valentine go on and on. But just what IS LOVE, really?

The author and illustrator have shown in this beautifully executed children's picture book what love is. And the gist is that love is being nice, being kind, giving a card, sharing some flowers. And it all boils down to the joy and happiness that is shown in the expressions of the characters as they go about showing their love.

...... Because nothing else matters without love.
It can be seen every day.
It can be seen everywhere....

The illustrations are charming. They capture the very heart of love (pun definitely intended). From "Facetime" video hugs from a mommy afar off in the military to two children communicating in sign language. The book exudes joy, happiness, and - yes - love.

💖💝 Why not purchase one for your child or a grandchild?
What a lovely Valentine to give them! 💖💝

DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy from MMPublicity on behalf of the author and publisher to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine alone and are freely given.
Profile Image for Kristi Bernard.
1,401 reviews18 followers
November 18, 2018
Expressing love can be done in so many ways. This colorfully illustrated story has kids from every walk of life sharing how they show love to someone in need and especially for someone they care about. A young pup gets a fancy meal served with a flower. A girl gets art drawn on her cast and a diverse family share a sing-a-long in a car.

There is more to love than we can ever imagine and when it’s shared it makes people feel happy and they know they are not alone. This story is great for beginner readers. Parents and caregivers can share this story of love with young listeners and create an activity with art so they can share their expressions of love with the people they care about.
Profile Image for Aeicha .
832 reviews101 followers
November 20, 2018
Stacy McAnulty’s LOVE is an absolutely beautiful and timely picture book that celebrates the power, beauty, and grace of love in all its forms. With the sweetest and simplest prose McAnulty manages to convey so much goodness and heart. Lew-Vriethoff's illustrations perfectly capture the book’s huggable sentiments and feature such a lovely diverse cast of characters. Readers of all ages will be delighted by LOVE and moved by his heartwarming message.
Profile Image for Baby Bookworm.
1,641 reviews91 followers
September 30, 2019

This review was originally written for The Baby Bookworm. Visit us for new picture books reviews daily!

Hello, friends! Our book today is Love, written by Stacy McAnulty and illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff, an ode to ways of feeling and expressing love.

What is love? What does it look like? Like a fancy meal or a designer card? Is it expensive gifts or fancy dinners? What do we mean when we say it happens at first sight? And how can we express it to the people who matter to us? A gloriously diverse cast of characters show the reader that love comes in many forms, and that there is no way too big or too small to show someone we love them.

Fabulous. As with their previous books Beautiful and Brave, McAnulty and Lew-Vriethoff expertly utilize the convention of making broad statements in the text then subverting them with the illustrations: “fancy dinner” is a lovingly-prepared bowl of food for an injured pet dog; a “designer greeting card” is a child’s joyously expressive crayon drawing; “first sight” is an adoptee being greeted with signs and grins by their new blended family. Especially striking is the tremendous diversity of these characters: adults, children, elderly, differently-abled, hearing-impaired, different faiths, different versions of non-traditional families, all in a rainbow of skintones that create a story world as vibrant as our own. The love is equally as diverse, showing the love we have for family, friends, pets, neighbors, or even total strangers. It’s an uplifting and affirming reminder that love colors our lives in every way imaginable, and is something we all share, and has infinite means of expression. The length is great, JJ loved it, and we can’t recommend it enough. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

Be sure to check out The Baby Bookworm for more reviews!
Profile Image for Marcie.
3,482 reviews
January 26, 2019
Disappointed. Not sure why. Perhaps illus did’t turn me on. Perhaps I was put off by the phrase Love needs special presents and designer greeting cards. All I could think of, was that the key to love was that it didn’t need anything. The illus were so inclusive that they seemed forced. I did like the illus for Love comes in the shape of a heart. Sorry because I usually LOVE Stacy McAnulty.
Profile Image for Stacy Renee  (LazyDayLit).
1,889 reviews89 followers
February 20, 2021
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review!

What is love to you? Is it hugs, gifts, or maybe spending time with family and friends?

This sweet little book focuses on love, in all its many forms; from baking with family and friends to gifting or sharing chocolates, gathering flowers for someone to make them smile to drawing greeting cards, and maybe even just leaving someone a special message. There are many ways to express and share love!

I was happy to see that this picture book features sign language in some of the illustrations, from the singular letters spelling 'love' to the hand signal for love. There's even a book clearly labeled 'sign language' in one of the images! I also loved that there is such a diverse array of human beings in this picture book!
Beautifully illustrated with a heart-warming message about celebrating love!

Reread in 2021!

This review was originally shared on Lazy Day Literature
Profile Image for Liz.
23 reviews6 followers
December 29, 2018
Perhaps a bit sentimental, but fairly inclusive and with a positive message when read cohesively. Caretakers reading the book to young children will have a lot of opportunity to talk about the text of the book as opposed to what is happening in the pictures. When I first approached the book I assumed I was going to find it trite, and I was pleasantly surprised with the book and its message of love. I would certainly consider using it for a story time.
Profile Image for Hannah Greendale.
703 reviews3,277 followers
April 24, 2018
Love pales in comparison to McAnulty's previous title, Brave. Though Love follows the same format as Brave, some of language and the corresponding illustrations aren't as cohesive or comprehensive as they could be.
Profile Image for BookzBookzBookz.
Author 16 books75 followers
January 7, 2019
I received the link to read this beautiful children's book online today. It's so precious and so sincere I couldn't help but post the review immediately! The words are sweet but it's the wording and illustrations combined that make this such a special book. I loved it so much, I scheduled my review for it, on my website, for Valentine's Day. What better way to share it?
Profile Image for Megan.
8 reviews
January 30, 2019
Major LOVE for this book by @stacymcanulty! I LOVE how the illustration don’t match the very typical (and somewhat cliche?sometimes consumeristic?) idea of showing love. This is the perfect book for Valentine’s Day ... and for helping kids recognize and give LOVE in many regular ordinarily awesome ways!
Profile Image for Leslie.
1,690 reviews11 followers
February 7, 2019
I love how this book takes a new look at Valentine's Day norms - a fancy dinner for you dog, designer greeting cards made by creative little ones, and hugs sent via Skype to a deployed parent. I'm looking forward to sharing this with my Toddler Storytime tomorrow. It may be more for the caregivers, but that's okay too!
9,623 reviews23 followers
January 10, 2019
This simple toddler and up book was just awesome! It talks about love and ways it can be found and where it can be found but it's the diversity of the illustrations that get you from the new adopted sister being welcomed home to the military parent being video conferenced. A timely read.
Profile Image for Molly Cluff (Library!).
2,363 reviews31 followers
January 26, 2019
This book made me cry! What the heck, that was so cute. The book showcases adorable, simple, specific ways that people can show they care about each other. The sister getting adopted! The skype call with a military family member! My poor heart!
Profile Image for Angela De Groot.
2,203 reviews5 followers
January 27, 2019
A simple yet powerful look at the many faces and displays of love. Really choked me up. Wonderful book. Show and share your love, everyone.
Profile Image for Alex  Baugh.
1,954 reviews108 followers
November 8, 2019
Stacy McAnulty has been one of my young readers' favorite authors and they were happy to see this book about love and add it to our ever growing picture book library. Each two page spread answers the question what is love. Kids quickly learn that love isn't just one thing, but can take many forms, and for each form, there are different ways of expressing love. For example: one page says "Love needs special presents" and the four spot illustrations show one young girl with cancer getting a flower wreath to wear on her head, a boy delivering a book to another boy, a girls bringing cookies to an older woman, and a boy giving his teacher a drawing he made. One of the really special aspects of the is book is the wonderfully diverse kids and adults that are found on page after page. One of the things we learned reading this book is how easy it is to show other love and kindness and that for most people, receiving something that is homemade is best because it comes right from the heart. I loved the whimsical illustrations that harmonize so perfectly with the words about love. My kids tried doing some of the things shown in the book and giving their creations to people they cared about and guess what? Their reactions bore out the message of this book.
Profile Image for Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*.
6,001 reviews185 followers
April 30, 2019
Love by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vreithoff. PICTURE BOOK. RP Kids (Hachette), 2018. $18. 9780762462124



This book attempts to convey to the reader what Love is; what it looks, feels, and acts like. It accomplishes through words but also through the illustrations which show children in various situations like adopting a cat, kissing a new sibling, sharing with a friend, sharing, enjoying time with friends and family, and more. The illustrations are bright and vivid and would be easy to share with a group.

This is a fantastic book on a complex topic. It could easily be read to pre-k and kindergarteners as a jumping off point for brainstorming how they show love, when they feel love, what they think love is. The illustrations are fantastic. The book never once mentions valentines day –which I liked, that it didn’t pigeon hole showing you care to just one day a year.

Reviewer: Stephanie MLS & Author.
Profile Image for Jared White.
847 reviews20 followers
May 21, 2021
A book about the little things and actions which help to allow us to show love.

I love the diversity represented: there is great racial diversity (including a multiracial family), a variety of ages interacting cross-generationally, 2 girls in wheelchairs (though both are in them temporarily due to sickness, so slight points off for that), and at least four people using sign language to speak (including an indication that one deaf friend is helping a hearing to learn it, with the hearing friend being willing to).

Other books in this "series" which have similar diversity to that above are the books Brave and Beautiful, the latter of which not only has great diversity but also, by its pictures, stands a lot of stereotypical sayings pertaining to "beautiful girls" on their head.
Profile Image for Kim.
192 reviews6 followers
May 1, 2019
This is a nice book for Valentine's Day. It has a counter-consumerism message. For example, the lines, "Love is a fancy dinner" is illustrated by a young girl bringing a bowl of dog food with a flower in it to a pup with a cast. And "And designer greeting cards." shows a young boy making cards by hand. There's also a nice message of normalizing diversity. We see mixed race families, adoption, a military mom video chatting with her kids, two kids signing, and a big diverse party at the end (including a woman wearing a Hijab).

The illustrations are bright and detailed and the text is simple, which makes a great combination for story time.
April 10, 2019
This book is perfect for the Valentine’s time of year but it’s really a great fit for any time of year.
You’ll definitely want to share this with someone you love. ❤️

LOVE, by Stacy McAnulty, is a sweet and simply stated book all about the ways we can share love with the people in our lives that we care for. It puts into words all of the wonderful things that make love just so lovely.

Vibrant illustrations from Joanne Lew-Vriethoff are the perfect touch to really bring the words to life.

Thank you to @runningpressbooks for sending us this treat of a picture book to read. ❣️
Profile Image for FM Family.
1,069 reviews12 followers
December 3, 2019
Liked it but funnily enough, didn’t love it. Quite similar to Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer which I preferred. The message is great but I had to wonder if the (planned) incongruity between the words and the pictures comes through to young kids. That dissonance might provide an opportunity for good discussion with older kids though. I thought this was sweet but wanted it to have a bit more funny to balance (without diminishing) the sweet message.
Profile Image for Jo Oehrlein.
6,275 reviews9 followers
April 6, 2022
The illustrations are very important as they provide a contrast to the words. The words declare that love needs designer greeting cards (picture of a kid drawing a card) and diamonds (picture of a kid and parent on a boat looking at the night sky), etc.

Great message and a good reminder for us all.
February 6, 2019
"More than paper hearts, chocolates, and flowers, Love is a gift that cannot be wrapped." This simple text and bright colorful illustrations will be great for a Valentine's Day storytime, or any day you want to talk about love!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 69 reviews

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