Illustrated by Mike Wimmer More by Patricia Maclachlan
All the places to love are the ones surrounding young Eli. On the day he is born, his grandmother holds him up to the window so that what he hears first is the wind, and what he sees first are the valleys, river and hilltop where blueberries grow, as his grandfather carves his name in the rafter of the barn, next to those of his grandparents and his parents. He will be lovingly shown the beauty and simple pleasure in his world, and will grow up knowing that no matter where life takes him, he will always think this is the best place because those who showed it to him, love him and these places more than anything else.
Read more... Eli grows up on a farm. The sense of purity and innocence of his world is tangible and makes many of us yearn for a life where time is slow and beauty is easy to find in the simplest of things. Eli gets to slosh through the marsh, pick blueberries under a sky only an arm's length away, cross the river to the woods, where he finds a soft, rounded bed where a deer had slept (and it was still warm!). But much more than that, it is the story of a boy whose loved ones take the time to be with him and share the joys that they have found and that have seen them through life.
The possibility that Eli be the every-child lies within all of us as we bring our babies into the world. So much of what our children learn to love is what they sense gives us our own peace and our joy. Whether our homes are near marshes and blueberry hills or highrises and community playgrounds, the lovely message in this story is the same.
Mike Wimmer's full-color, richly-detailed illustrations will sweep you away, and the simple and brief text complements the book perfectly. There's likely no way you'll be able to read All the Places to Love and keep a dry eye. It's one of those books which strikes deep because it speaks of such heartfelt things. And when Eli's baby sister is born, then held up to the window to hear the wind and see her world, and Grandfather carves her name into the rafters, too, well, you'll know you've come across a book that's rare in it's beauty.
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