The first Emily Jenkins book we read was Invisible Inkling, a middle-grade chapter book with really great pictures. The Boy and I loved it instantly, and quickly moved on to the The Secret Life of Billie's Uncle Myron (which she wrote with her dad) and the Toys series.
But what I love most about Emily Jenkins, so far, is that apparently she bugged our house and watched The Baby very closely and then decided to write a book about her. Which is weird, because Love You When You Whine was published in 2006, and The Baby wasn't born until 2008. Semantics, schemantics. She's got a crystal ball. Probably.
Judging on title alone, Love You When You Whine is a perfect book for The Baby. Judging on Jenkins' words and the illustrations by Sergio Ruzzier, it was made for her.
"Love you when you whine."
"Love you when you pour cereal on the floor."
"...and chew with your mouth open."
"Love you when you mess with my checkbook."
There are over two dozen "Love you when..." scenarios, which account for roughly four hours of one day with The Baby.
I love this book so, so much. There are no saccharine, "You're the most perfect baby ever to have never puked on her mommy" moments. There are no, "I made one hundred and twelve organic carrot cake cupcakes with applesauce-sweetened icing made from the apples grown in my pesticide-free orchard that I cultivate with my own hands and don't forget there is a soccer game tonight of which I am coach and also have you noticed my beautiful highlights and perfectly manicured fingernails and by the way I showered today before 7 am" mothers. Nowhere. None.
As much as I love the sticky-sweet stories and illustrations in many classic children's books (and really, I really do), I am absolutely in love with this book, because through hilariously sad illustrations and simple declarations, it's clear that the parents are not afraid to say Look kid, you are bat-snot crazy, and you wear me out, and I wish you would just take a nap already, and oh my gosh you are wonderful and exquisite and I love you so much that there are just no adequate words to make you understand how important you are to me.
Because that's exactly how I feel about The DestructoTot Baby.