I’ll Always Love You by Paeony Lewis is one of my favorite children’s books. I used to read it to my children over and over again. They loved the book as much as me. Young children sometimes don’t understand the difference between temporary frustration or anger over something they have done and general dislike for them. If a parent of caregiver is upset with them and scolds them for something they have done wrong, they might interpret that behavior as “she doesn’t love me anymore.” I always wanted my children to know that I would always love them no matter what they do. I might get frustrated with them, even angry with them, but I will always love them. True love is unconditional. I’ll Always Love You is a sweet illustration of the unconditional love between a mama bear and her cub.
Alex is an adorable little bear cub who wakes up one morning with the ambition to to please his mother by doing something special for her. In the process of completing his thoughtful task, he makes a mistake. Alex, under the influence of his tender little heart, worries about what his mother will think of him when she finds out what he has done.
He asks his mother, “Mom, will you only love me if I’m good?”
“Even when I’ve done something that isn’t good?” he asked his mother.
Alex’s mother promises him that she will always love him.
Alex continues to question his mother by presenting her with different possible scenarios which he could get himself into. His mother patiently assures him that she will love him in spite of every circumstance but she is careful to point out what the consequences of each behavior might be.
When Alex and his mother make their way into their kitchen for breakfast, his mother discovers Alex’s mistake. She is surprised by what she sees and lets out an “Oh no!” which causes Alex do doubt his mother’s promise that she will always love him.
As a parent, I can appreciate Alex’s next response as I have heard it many times from the mouths of my own “not so innocent” little children, “I love you.”
After another hug and promise of unconditional love from his mother, Alex finds a very creative way to make up for his mistake which leads both him and his mother into a very happy little ending to a sweet little bear story.
I’ll Always Love You by Paeony Lewis was illustrated by Penny Ives. It was first published in 2000. The book remains a childhood favorite in the memories of my own children and I am sure it will be a favorite for all children and adults who read this adorable little book. It promises to be a classic for generations to come.