Note: This photo shows the board book version. Other versions in book form are available.
Picture Book: I Love You, Stinky Face
Author: Lisa McCourt
Illustrator: Syd Moore
Summary: A young boy and his mother have a conversation which is driven by a series of questions proposed by the child that test the mother’s unconditional love and willingness to care for him. “What if I were a big, scary ape? Would you still love me then?” The mother responds in each case with a description of how she would care for her child despite his non-human status. Then she ends her answer with,” I would tell you, ‘I love you, (my big, scary ape.)’” The title is derived from the question, “…what if I were a super smelly skunk, and I smelled so bad that my name was Stinky Face? She replies, “Then I’d plunk you in a bubble bath! But if you still smelled stinky, I wouldn’t mind. I’d whisper in your ear, ’I love you, Stinky Face.’”
Hanna’s Comments: Besides the delightful illustrations, I love the way the mother’s unconditional love is so creatively demonstrated in the unusual caretaking rituals she devises for each kind of monster her child assumes in their hypothetical world. When I read this book again and again with much hilarity to my children, I didn’t think to talk to them about how the mother in the book is demonstrating God’s unconditional and creative love for God’s children. I missed that opportunity. If you have young children, don’t miss that opportunity. I encourage you to often have these kinds of “God-connecting” conversations whenever you engage in material about unconditional, parental love, especially when the parent is a mother. We have lots of opportunities to think of God like a father. Another popular book that can encourage this kind of conversation is Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney.
Publisher & Date of Publication: Scholastic, 1997
Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up
# of Pages: 32
Available in Spanish? Not at present
Formats other than Book: Amateur videos on Youtube.com, audio
PBT Category: Pre 2K
PBT Topics this Book Connects with: acceptance, adaptation/assimilation, affection, affirmation, babies/children, belonging, bonds/connections, caring/tending, challenges, covenant/promises/vows, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, family, God’s nature, grace, identity/names, love, mothers, nurturing, parents/parental love, presence, prevenient grace, questioning/questions, reassurance, relationships, risking, sin, steadfastness, tolerance
Scripture Connections: Can a woman forget her child and have no compassion for him…?... yet I will not forget you (Isaiah 49:15-16); nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39); there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18)
Idea(s) for Application: Use this book with a group of preschoolers when talking about what God is like and how much God loves all of God’s children.