More People to Love Me’ is a story about a little girl with a huge family. She has a mummy and a step-mum, a daddy and a step-dad and four brothers and sisters. She also has lots of grandparents: in fact, she has so many grandparents she has to have a special name for some of them – like Grananna, who is her step-dad David’s mum. Given the size of her family, it’s not surprising that this little girl struggles to fit everyone on the family tree she draws at school. This upsets her a bit until she realises it’s actually better to have a forest than a single tree.
It is unusual to find a picture book written in first person, possibly because this can be hard for young children to understand. The voice in ‘More People to Love Me’ is, however, skilfully handled by author, Mo O’Hara, and is simple and easy to understand. I was particularly impressed at the amount of character she is able to convey in so few words.
While the young audience will be able to identify with the little girl at the centre of the story, they may struggle to understand the complicated relationships in the family described. A couple of times I had to flick back and look again to determine who was who so children of picture book age are unlikely to grasp this without significant adult help: even then, they may find it challenging to understand as relationships are often difficult for children of this age. Fortunately, this won’t spoil their enjoyment of the story as they will still be able to grasp the central message that it’s okay to have different types of family and it’s actually a good thing to have more people to love.
The pictures are colourful and animated, especially the teacher Miss Sarah. The story was probably a challenge for illustrator, Ada Grey, and the regular introduction of a new member of the family could have resulted in a repetitive set of pictures. Instead, we have a truly delightful set of pictures with plenty of pace and variety. The figures themselves are drawn in an appealing naive style (to suggest that they are drawn by a child) and the character expressions are particularly clever. Young readers are, however, likely to be drawn to the fold out section in the back of the book which I suspect will become a firm favourite.
If you enjoyed this, why not try a picture book looking at a different aspect of family life. How about tackling the problem of bedtime in I Am Not Sleepy And I Will Not Go To Bed by Lauren Child.
Read the review on the Bookbag website.