Maggie Hutchings (author) and Evie Barrow (illustrator)
Affirm Press: 2021
Reviewed by Viv Young
After Willa’s parents get divorced her family keeps getting bigger until Willa’s had enough! But can you ever have enough love?
Enough Love? is told in the first person by a young girl who is part of an expanding blended family. She tells her story by enumerating and drawing the additions to her family—human, feathered and furred. The animal additions provide gentle humour and the process of counting family members feels particularly realistic, picking up on that interest in sorting and numbers that so many young children enjoy. Sometimes Willa mentions explicitly how she is feeling (happy, sad, mad), but the overall emphasis is on continuing connection with her parents, her parents’ new partners and her siblings.
The warm, bright tones of the artwork for Enough Love? implicitly create a sense of fun, love and belonging. The illustrations combine the styles of artist and character—on the one hand there are the pencil drawings depicting Willa and her expanding family and on the other, Willa’s own crayon drawings of her family. Sometimes the crayon drawings start to take over the page. This happens especially at moments of high emotion and focuses the reader on the child’s experience, conveying her feelings simply and forcefully. For parents wishing to discuss emotions the use of symbolism, expressive facial expressions and body language also provide cues for conversations about feelings.
Enough Love? treats its child protagonist with respect and shows her getting used to her loving blended family with all the humour, highs and lows one might expect.