Review By HOMA WOODRUM
Though billed as the fifth book in the “Hazel Ridge Farm” series, I Love You Just Enough is a great standalone picture book. Written by a husband and wife team, Robbyn Smith van Frankenhuyzen (words) and Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen (painted illustrations), it tells the story of a young girl named Heather that finds a young wood duck on her last day of school before summer vacation and cares for it until it is able to return home. Heather’s father warns Heather that aside from the responsibility of caring for her new charge, “The hardest thing that you will have to do is not to love him too much.” He goes on to add: “Loving him will be the easy part. This duckling will only be with us for a short while. His true family should be with other ducks. Saying goodbye will be hard.”
Each painted page is beautiful and I loved being able to see the texture of the canvas come through. Heather gathers food for the duckling, Peet, and even starts him with swimming in the bathtub and later in the pond. Eventually Peet flies away and Heather remembers her father’s initial caution to love him just enough so that she can let him go. I think that though this book is set in a farm, since it is a real life one operated by former wildlife rehabilitators, I don’t feel like there’s anything beyond the farm being just the real setting of the story. In other words, there’s no agenda here regarding farms or farming that a veg family would likely be concerned about.
We really enjoyed this one and it reminded me a great deal of one of my favorite childhood books Moses the Kitten by James Heriott as it follows the finding and caring for a young animal in a calmly paced and beautiful way.
Ages 2 and up. Review copy received from Sleeping Bear Press.