Never Too Little to Love by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Jan Fernley
Never Too Little to Love by Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Jan Fearnley feels like a classic to me, even though it was first published (and in a slightly larger format) in 2005. As a bookseller, I would find a space for it every year on the Valentine's book display and every year I would take a moment to read it again and smile. Willis's story is sweet and simple, perfectly complimented by the gentle palette Fearnley uses in her pencil and watercolor illustrations. And, after years of reading Never Too Little to Love, I put two and two together and realized that Willis is the author of a favorite picture book of mine, The Bog Baby, which I'll talk a bit more about below. Never Too Little to Love begins, "This is Tiny Too-Little. He's in love with somebody."
But . . . the object of Tiny Too-Little's affections is "way up there," a long, long way away if you are "tiny and you really want a kiss." Tiny is too little to reach his amour, even if he stands on his tiptoes. Even if he stands on a thimble. Even if he stands on a matchbox. Even if he stands on a watermelon. Tiny keeps stacking thing upon odd thing in an effort to reach the cheek of his true love. As he does so, each page of Never Too Little to Love (which, though not a traditional board book does have reinforced pages) gets a bit shorter as Tiny's tower gets taller. Nine pages later, the reader gets to see the whole tower, which is quite wobbly. When Tiny ends up back on the ground, his beloved bends down to give him a great big kiss which "just goes to show that, even if you are tiny . . . you are never too little to love." I don't want to give too much away, but if you look at the images below you'll get a glimpse of the pop-out page with her on it!
Please click through to read my full review of The Bog Baby, but just in case . . . Two sisters sneak down to Bluebell Wood where they find a bog baby that they scoop up and take home. They do their best, along with the help of a friend, to keep that bog baby cozy and comfy, but it soon becomes obvious that it just can't survive in captivity. The girls finally share their secret with Mom, who has bog baby stories of her own, and she helps them find a happy ending. The final pages of the book have a keepsake log where readers can write reports of their own bog baby sightings, and the story ends with the narrator, now grown, sharing that she never saw another bog baby again but her daughter has seen thousands!