How do we learn about love? Not parental love -- something so fundamental that I assume it is part of us from birth (if not before) -- but romantic love? My daughter has started asking questions about love songs, about the composition of different families that we know, and about why Cinderella falls for the Prince even though he barely utters a word throughout their (admittedly brief) courtship.
I realized that I was stumped about how to explain the emotions and rituals of pairing in all of its forms. How will I guide my daughter through the joys and complexities of young love, let alone teach her how to create healthy and lasting relationships?
For all of these reasons, I was happy to discover Peter McCarty's endearing and gentle Henry in Love, a picture book that describes the affection of a cat named Henry for a bunny named Chloe, all set in the schoolyard and focused on the importance of homemade blueberry muffins to successful wooing.
Already a fan of McCarty's Jeremy Draws a Monster, in which a young boy is surprised to discover that his drawings can come to life, I was charmed by the warmth of Henry in Love. McCarty's illustrations are also irresistible, as is his vision of a harmonious animal universe in which rabbits play football and cats and dogs can be BFFs. I know that my daughter will have to find her own way in love, but I can only hope that she will have a first experience as positive as that of Henry and Chloe.