In searching for a splendid piece for Valentine’s Day, which is this weekend, it can be quite difficult to make worthwhile discoveries due to the fact that many children’s books created for the holiday fail to move beyond the commercialism that often characterizes the day of love. Although the truth holds that Valentine’s Day celebrations usually fail to move beyond teddy bears, chocolate, and cards depicting tawdry cartoon characters, the holiday can also foster conversations about what it means to be a friend, admire someone, and love in the rawest sense of the term. While there are countless children’s books expressing the love parents have for their children, George Shannon’s Hands Say Love, illustrated by Taeevn Yoo, emphasizes the idea that love can be expressed in ways that extend beyond simply saying “I love you”. A wonderful story for toddlers, the piece masterfully depicts the actions carried out by tender hands that illustrate true love.
Employing rhyme and the anaphora “Hands that…,” Shannon’s work combines the repetitive elements children under five so appreciate. In a simple, easy to understand manner, the story explains the idea that actions, such as removing splinters, sharing food, and marking height on a wall, that one may generally not think deeply about, actually depict the tremendous love parents have for their children. As the hands in the story continue to carry out task after task, the illustration of love grows and the work’s theme is revealed.
While Shannon’s story proves to be charming and timeless, Taeevn Yoo’s lovely illustrations truly capture the essence of the text, adding tremendously to the overall appeal of the book. With soft, pastel colors and perfect detail, especially found in the fabric displayed in the piece, Yoo’s artwork adds a sense of comfort to Hands Say Love. As scenes of home, blue skies, and green grass unfold page after page, love seeps from the delightful illustrations, engendering the feeling of euphoria love tends to bring. Thus, Yoo’s finesse works to successfully exemplify Shannon’s emotional theme.
With George Shannon’s melodic writing and Taeevn Yoo’s complementary illustrations Hands Say Love proves to be a piece worthy of all children and parents’ enjoyment. Whether it be for Valentine’s Day or any other day, the author and illustrator’s applaud-worthy work truly exemplifies the idea that “Hands that do all they can do are also saying ‘I love you’”.