August 6, 2020


What I Like Most by Mary Murphy and Zhu Cheng-Liang celebrates the joys of the little things in life, all of which serve to strengthen the bond between mother and child.

A little girl lists the things that make her happy, calling attention to them one by one as they happen and taking time to truly observe the nuances of why they bring her pleasure. Standing at her window, blowing her breath and making shapes and watching the locals is her favorite thing because she gets to use the outermost parts of her imagination. Except for eating her grandmother's homemade apricot jam and walking in her favorite pair of shoes, which really are her favorite things because the jam tastes amazing and her shoes let her run and jump. But in the end, the girl's absolute, most favorite thing in the world is her mother, whose love is truly unwavering no matter how things evolve.

With a few exceptions, most of the spreads are laid out in a storybook fashion, with text and a small image on the verso page and a full-bleed image on the recto. Like the girl's favorite things, the illustrations are full of change and fluidity, thanks in part to the watercolor and pencils Cheng-Liang used to create them. As the girl changes her mind and flits from favorite activity to favorite food, so too does the watercolor blend this way and that to emphasize the ever-changing nature of the girl's train of thought. Of course, like the girl's thoughts, there is a through-line as readers witness all of the parts of the girl's every day activities weave together to create her world.

What I Like Most published from Candlewick Press earlier this year.

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