Parents use the books to express their own unconditional love for their children, and to help children express their feelings toward their parents. Parents report that the “day winding down to bedtime” themes make the books favorites for bedtime read-alouds. The child bear repeatedly gets into mischief, while the parent continues to love the child. This is a natural spring board for parents to reassure their children that they will always love them. Military parents serving away from their children, widowed, separated, and divorced parents all love these books; the gender- neutral description and pictures of “parents” fit their family situations. Parents who do not live with their children report phoning their children for frequent phone readings of the book, as a way to reassure their children of their love while absent. Parents of handicapped and learning challenged children report the books are a great consolation. Their children may never be the star soccer player or top speller, but they richly appreciate spending time in simple family activities together. The books are favorite baby shower and new parents gifts. Parents with difficult pregnancies have read the books daily during bed rest and hospitalization, to help visualize the life with their children that awaits once they make it through tough pregnancies.

In the “You Are My” books, games include finding the teddy bear’s animal friends hiding and peeking on each of the pages (where is the duck?). For “Sleep, Baby, Sleep,” games include finding the animals from the earlier pages on the later page spreads. Discussions include activities and traditions you enjoy with your family, what you would wish for if you could make any wish, how to say “I Love You” in several languages. Activities include teddy bear picnics and pajama story times. “Sleep, Baby, Sleep” can be paired with other variations of traditional Mother Goose rhymes to celebrate Mother Goose Day May 1st and National Poetry month in April. Children are asked to make their own adaptations from traditional Mother Goose verses, and can color alternate endings or alternate characters to Mother Goose rhymes. Arts and crafts include making Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas cards, coloring teddy bears, and writing “dandelion wishes.” Decorating paper cookies and Christmas trees and sheep can be used as ornaments during the Christmas season. During the rest of the year decorating these shapes from the book can be used as crafts and as window light catchers. Print some bookmarks.

Check out more Maryann Love Children’s Book activities here