My mother found this book for me at a thrift store and I’m so grateful she did! Trish Cooke is Afro-Caribbean from the UK and not only does the book show a loving family of color but she uses Afro-Caribbean English to write the story. I also really like her book Full, Full, Full of Love. The beginning of So Much has a nice rhythm that’s great for little ones to follow. Another thing I love about this book is that it’s illustrated by the great Helen Oxenbury. Oxenbury and Cooke create a lovable story about a little baby and his family that loves him SO MUCH.
So Much begin with the baby sitting with his mom, simply enjoying the day, then the doorbell rings and another member of the family arrives. Each time someone new comes, they say they want to squeeze the baby, kiss the baby, so much! The father comes home tired from work to a house full of love. There are some negative reviews online for this book’s “bad grammar.” I don’t think those reviewers took the time to research the author’s background or simply didn’t care. I love the addition of Afro-Caribbean English because 1). It is different and 2). Cooke is sharing her culture with her readers.
Oxenbury’s gouache illustrations are lovely; her paintings depict movement and joy and love. I especially love the pages where the family is crowded together, dancing and having a good time because it reminds me of my family. I also love how 90s the illustrations are; there are lots of sneakers, baggy shirts, caps and funky prints (This book was first printed in 1994!). In the author/illustrator notes at the back of the book, Oxenbury says that this book was the first time she had to illustrate only humans (none of her signature animals at all) and that it was a challenge. I think she did an excellent job and if you look closely, the baby’s teddy bear has great expressions! I think you will enjoy this book so much!
Recommended for: Toddlers and up
Great for: Family, Diversity, Cultural Diversity,
Book Info: So Much by Trish Cooke/Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, 1997 Candlewick Press, ISBN: 9780763602963
*Note– This book is possibly out of print. If you can’t find it at a bookstore, check at your local library, used bookstores and online.