Rhyming stanzas pair with explantive illustrations to depict ordinary, realistic, and tender moments throughout the different stages of life where the comfort of three squeezes are passed between father and son. From comforting an infant by softly squeezing their hand three times, three long squeezes amidst a hug after a toddler’s fearful night-time calls, and three squeezes to meet “each tear-filled low and and cheer-filled high” of adolescence and adulthood, the story is brought full circle as the son gives his aged father’s hand three squeezes. While the meaning of the three squeezes throughout the story can easily be understood, the final page confirms that father and son were “saying ‘I love you’ by way of my three squeezes.” Wonderfully sweet and lovely, Pratt’s successful spin on an “I love you” book is noteworthy for its relatable moments shared through life—including disagreements between a parent and child—and the deeper meaning brought on through showing the reversal of care from father to son, exhibiting the responsibility to care for parents after all the care a parent has given to their child. The illustrations are charming in an ordinary way, and Sheban’s style of tinting pages in different colors brings a further warmth and emotional expression through to complement the tone of the text. Through aging, learning, and disagreements, the love between a parent and child conquers, displayed with three meaningful squeezes.
Chris Sheban has been awarded three gold and three silver medals by the Society of Illustrators. Some of the books he has illustrated are I Met a Dinosaur by Jan Wahl, Catching the Moon by Myla Goldberg, and What To Do With a Box by Jane Yolen. He also illustrated Someone Like Me by Patricia MacLachlan, also published by Roaring Brook Press.
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