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In this gentle, loving book, preschooler Dimitri says “I love you” to his friends, the class guinea pig, and the tree with heart-shaped leaves. Some friends giggle and then run away. The tree and the class pet have no voice. But this does not stop Dimitri from saying “I love you” to more friends, his teacher, and an old man sitting on a bench. None of them reciprocate. The old man, probably with poor hearing, takes Dimitri’s remark as an offense and snaps. After that, the boy becomes quiet. He finds comfort at bedtime when hearing Mom’s familiar voice saying, “I love you, Dimitri.” But the next morning, Dimitri refuses to go back to preschool. He explains what a disappointment it was not getting everyone to reciprocate with “I love you.” Mom walks with Dimitri and explains to him the different ways of saying “I love you” without uttering those words. She points to the same old man sitting in the park feeding the stray cats with a can of tuna: “That is his way of saying ‘I love you’ to those cats.” She points to another preschooler’s smile at seeing Dimitri: “She is saying ‘I love you’ with her smile.” The boy begins to observe many signs of “I love you” around him. When friends ask him to join them feeding the birds, a warm feeling grows inside. And at storytime that morning, everyone wants to sit by Dimitri, the boy who loves everyone without hesitation, fear, or shame. (Candlewick Press).

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