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Cover image for How do I love thee?
How do I love thee?
First edition.
New York, NY : Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2018]
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : chiefly color illustrations ; 27 cm
Parents describe the breadth of their love for their children, including in soft sunlight and rain-drizzled night, by stars and firelight, and fall's red trees and winter's frost-etched breath.


Call Number
JP Adams

On Order



A gorgeous reinvention of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's famous "Sonnet 43" from the bestselling author of the BabyLit board books and the acclaimed illustrator of Over and Under the Snow.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Whether in soft sunlight or rain-drizzled night or winter's frost-etched breath, three children share the love and joy of friendship while exploring the wonders of nature.

Bestselling author Jennifer Adams has reimagined Elizabeth Barrett Browning's beloved "Sonnet 43," best known by its opening lines, creating a lyrical, evocative ode to the love of family and friends. Christopher Silas Neal brings the poetry to life with his beautiful, imaginative, and whimsical illustrations.

Author Notes

Jennifer Adams is a writer and editor. She graduated from the University of Washington in Seattle and currently works as senior editor for Gibbs Smith Publishing. She is the author of the popular children's board book series, BabyLit. The series is based on classic works of fiction and uses those stories to illustrate counting, colors, opposites, weather and fashion. Adams currently lives in Salt Lake City.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-Three friends share in wondrous moments throughout this beautifully rendered picture book adaptation of the iconic poem. The youngsters traipse through nature in its myriad seasons and partake in active and quiet times together that cement their friendship in love. They build a snowman, gaze at the sky, run through a meadow, sing, go sledding, camp, sail, and climb a tree. Exquisite mixed media artwork accompanies the verse, providing stunning views of the natural world. Neal skillfully pairs the illustrations with the text, such as presenting symbolism in the free flight of birds and kites with the emotion of love. For "I love thee in soft sunlight," the three main characters gaze up through a tree's canopy as a wash of pale yellow sunshine filters through the leaves. The ability to create this soft glow is mesmerizing and indicative of the high quality of art throughout. Based on Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "Sonnet 43," Adam and Neal repurpose the conceit to explore love between friends and family. The original "Sonnet 43" is included at the end along with a very brief biography of Browning. VERDICT An enchanting imagining of love and friendship made successful by its splendid artwork; this is a winning choice for young poets.-Rachel Zuffa, Racine Public Library, WI © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Beginning with the famed opening line, "How do I love thee?/ Let me count the ways," Adams (the My Little Cities series) restages Elizabeth Barrett Browning's sonnet using modernized language. Three children wander and explore outdoors: "I love thee in soft sunlight/ and rain-drizzled night./ I love thee with a whisper/ and a song/ and a ROAR." In clear, spacious scenes featuring grainy textural details by Neal (Everyone), the children lie hand in hand beneath a tree, dash through the rain, and climb on a large stone lion. Finally, they fly via triangle-shaped kites to their neighboring houses, where they are welcomed by their guardians: "And at end of day's/ goodnight kiss./ And I will always love thee." Adams includes brief biographical lines about Browning, as well as the original poem, which she honors through this accessible adaptation. Ages 4-8. (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

This accessible revisioning of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "Sonnet 43" begins with the original two lines--"How do I love thee? / Let me count the ways"--then veers off into less conceptual, kid-friendly language. The joys of friendship replace the passion and romance of Browning's original as the appealing mixed-media illustrations show three friends romping across the pages and through the seasons. The final page reproduces Browning's sonnet. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Review

Three diverse children adapt Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Sonnet 43 from love poem to celebration of friendship.A pale girl with black hair in pigtails, a light-brown-skinned boy with brown hair and glasses, and a dark-brown-skinned girl with afro puffs atop her head are clearly the best of friends, often holding hands or otherwise touching in the mixed-media-and-digital illustrations. Adams has kept what concepts children can understand of Browning's language, replacing the rest with references to the seasons and kid-friendly language. Instead of "I love thee to the depth and breadth and height / My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight," Adams offers, "I love thee deep / and wide and high. // I love thee in soft sunlight / and rain-drizzled night." The former spread shows the trio in a submarine and on a ship at sea. Instead of Browning's passionate declamations, readers hear, "I love thee by stars / and firelight. // By spring's first snowdrops // and fall's red trees // and winter's frost-etched breath." The illustrations mix the real and the fantastical: One of the last spreads ("and at end of day's goodnight kiss") portrays the three children suspended from kites, two of them being welcomed by a parent's arms, the third still drifting toward home. Neal's friendly, matte artwork is softly colored in earth tones. The final page tells a little about Browning and gives the original text of Sonnet 43.A beautiful ode to friendship that brings Browning's rhythms to kids' level. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.