Book Review: I will love you forever

loveforevercover

I will love you forever

Written and illustrated by Tatsuya Miyanashi

40 pages

Published by Museyon

Publication date: 1st June 2017

Age range: In Japan from age 3, for this particular book maybe 5+

Summary: (from Goodreads)

A female Maiasaura finds a lost egg in the forest and decides to look after it with her own egg. Surprisingly, a baby Tyrannosaurus hatches from the egg. The greathearted mother accepts and raises him as her own son, Heart. One day, Heart goes to pick berries and comes across another Tyrannosaurus. The foster son of the Maiasaura discovers his real identity. The fourth title in this acclaimed Tyrannosaurus series, I Will Love You Forever delivers a heartwarming story about adoption with vivid, brightly colored illustrations and endearingly drawn characters.

Tenderly she held her own egg and the egg that she had found.

“Hatch soon and be healthy,” she whispered.

I originally came across this series in Japan, where it is very popular. When I was teaching in the international school where I worked, I led the early years bilingual (English-Japanese) programme. Despite speaking Japanese to a fairly-high level, I often found reading children’s books quite tricky because of the language used (e.g. Have you ever heard someone call a fire engine a nee naw? etc). This series was one I read with the children and was one of the most popular in our library. I think the main appeal for children was the fact that the characters are dinosaurs (and who doesn’t think dinosaurs are cool?!) and the brightly-coloured illustrations which the children liked to imitate.

This is a series which I feel may not translate particularly well, due to the melancholy nature of some of the story lines.

In this particular book, a herbivorous Maiasaurus (fictional dinosaur) raises a Tyrannosaurus egg that she finds. When the child has grown up a little and discovers that he is not a Maiasaurus he leaves, but his mother promises to love him forever.

While this story might be enjoyed by most children, some caution might need to be urged if reading it with a child who has been adopted or fostered. The Tyrannsaurus parent insists that nature overcomes nurture so Heart is destined to be a Tyrannosaurus, despite his upbringing. While the discussion of this could be valuable, I would urge parents and educators to know their children before reading this.

Saying that, as a reader of other books in the series in the original Japanese, I would encourage other readers to read this book in the context of the others. In another book, the father Tyrannosaurus ends up adopting a baby dinosaur who is different to himself, in another dinosaurs who would normally be predator and prey become friends. The author himself has said that the main theme of his books is love and how it often takes forms we don’t expect.

Heart’s mother held him close.

With tears in his eyes Heart asked, “Mom, am I…am I a Tyrannosaurus? Am I you child?”

His mother hugged Heart as tight as she could.

“You are my dear child, Heart. You are my treasure.”

 

What I liked: The bold-coloured illustrations, the dinosaur characters, the portrayal of the unconditional love of a parent

Even better if: Needs to be read in context of the series, not just as a stand-alone, so would like to see more of these books published in English.

How you could use it in your classroom: Judge your pupils when using books from this series as this particular book could raise some issues for children who have been adopted, but try to draw out the universal themes of love and acceptance

(Thank you to Netgalley and Musyon Inc. for my review copy)

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