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*Papa, Do You Love Me?* by Barbara M. Joosse, illustrated by Barbara Lavallee

Also by Barbara M. Joosse:

Papa, Do You Love Me?

Mama, Do You Love Me?

Bad Dog School


Papa, Do You Love Me?
by Barbara M. Joosse, illustrated by Barbara Lavallee
Ages 4-8 36 pages Chronicle April 2005 Hardcover    

"Papa, do you love me?" asks a young child, voicing a question pondered by all children from time to time. The answers in this beautifully illustrated book comes from a Maasai father living deep within the Serengeti plains of Africa. As the son continues questioning the depth and strength of his father's love, Barbara M. Joose, author of this gentle tale, weaves glimpses of Maasai culture throughout Papa's answers. We learn about the wildebeest and the hippopotamus, two animals that live in the Serengeti, what to do if the river runs dry, and how to scare away hyenas and lions.
"What if I was afraid?'" asks the child.
"I'd wrap my arms around you so you could hear my heart beat like a drum."
"What if hyenas blinked yellow eyes at me?"
"We'd throw back our heads and how-how-hooowwwwwl till they slank-slunk away."
Wonderful images, created both by the words and by illustrator Barbara Lavallee, who shows us Papa and his son, Tender Heart, cuddled under a large red blanket, howling at the hyenas whose yellow eyes dot the background. Each time the young son reveals his fears, he is reassured that his father will protect him.

Then his son risks discussing one more universal fear: what if he disappoints his father? Papa holds the boy close, telling him that he might be angry, but he would still love his Tender Heart, no matter what.

As in her bestseller, Mama, Do You Love Me?, a story sharing the special bond between an Inuit mother and her daughter, Barbara Joose sprinkles many words throughout this story specific to a different culture. These words, explained in a glossary at the end of the book, give a more in-depth look at the Maasai traditions, emphasizing the importance of caring for their animals ("The herd boy holds a position of great keep the cattle safe during the daytime"), of becoming a warrior ("through a ritual that tests his strength, endurance, and bravery"), and of respect ("A Maasai boy shows respect by serving and working for his parents"). It provides an excellent introduction to another culture as it gently reassures its young readers that Papas everywhere love their children.

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  Marcia Berenger/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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