This book has been a standby in our house for as long as I can remember.

Love You When You Whine
Written by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier
Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, September, 2006
Suitable for:  Ages 3 and up
Themes/Topics:  Parenting, Relationships, Family, Behavior, Love
Opening and brief synopsis: From SLJ: In this cozy picture book, a patient mother declares her unwavering love for her daughter, no matter what trouble she gets into. The tot’s actions–pouring cereal on the floor, trying to sneak dessert without eating dinner, chewing with mouth open wide, unfurling newly folded laundry, throwing a tantrum–will seem familiar to young listeners.
Activities: Our favorite thing to do after reading this book is to turn it around on each other.  For instance, I’ll say to my daughter, “Love you when you complain about going to ski lessons the whole drive there.”  She’ll say to me, “Love you when you work on your computer even though you say you won’t,” and so on.  We all laugh, we get to vent a little, and it helps us understand each other better.
Why I Like This Book: For two reasons.  First, because my kids love it and laugh so hard when we read it.  Why?  Because of course they see themselves in the child character.  Second, it’s the kind of book that makes me smack my head and think, “WHY didn’t I write that book?”  It’s so brilliant in its simplicity and so universal.

For more books with resources please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books!

Categories: Authors, Perfect Picture Book Friday, Picture Books · Tags: , , , , , , ,



  1. This sounds like a wonderful book! I love your activity that you and your daughter do! What a great way to vent. Have a great weekend Julie!

  2. Oh, this does sound like a perfect book. I’ve never heard of it before. I’m going to request a copy from my library right now. I love the activity!

    • At your library, how do you request books? At my library, it costs $3 for shipping.

      • $3? eek. I don’t know about Nessa, but here, we have a province-wide library system, and as long as the library is somewhere in the province, requesting a book is free. I don’t know if there’s a fee for Inter-library loan from outside the province. (doubtless the cost is absorbed somewhere, likely municipal taxes.)

        • Same here in CO with the interlibrary loans: free. And one of ours has it because I have read that book! Love the illustrator!

  3. This is probably a good one to read back when your teenagers are driving you crazy. Obviously not me yet, living vicariously through friend’s troubles. What a great book Julie!

  4. The title made me laugh! My mom does that kind of thing at home. She is always saying “OH I LOVE it when you complain” or if we complain about dinner she says “Good! That makes me SOOOOO happy” . I am going to show this book to her 🙂

  5. I agree, Julie – it’s the kind of book that makes me ask: why didn’t I write that! Um- because I was too busy procrastinating? Or telling myself “who would ever want to read such a thing?” Goes to show we should just get out of our way and write… Thanks for sharing. Definitely gonna read that one.

  6. This book led to my daughter coining the phrase “sarcasming” as in “Mom, do you really mean what you just said, or are you sarcasming?”

  7. This is so super cute, Julie! Gotta order it today. Ivy and I need it. She’s our only girl and the both of us love to whine. Ha!

    And yes! *sob* I wish I would have thought of writing it first.

  8. This sounds like a very fun book to read. We could use it at our house too! I see we have the same illustrator this week for our books – Sergio Ruzzier. Isn’t he great?

  9. When my children whine, I certainly don’t say, “Love you when you whine.” I’m more of a “I can’t STAND it when you whine!” kind of mom. Maybe I SHOULD read this book and learn to lighten up a bit.

    • I am the same way Christie. This is why the book is so funny. Plus, it’s reassuring to my kids. Because even though I really HATE it when they whine, they like to know I still love them in spite of it. 😉

  10. Hmmmm. I have a whiner. It is really hard to love him when he whines sometimes. Perhaps this book was written for me?

  11. What a perfect picture book for PPBF. 😀

  12. OK, you totally had me at the title!!! What a great idea! I’m with you – why didn’t I think of this book? 🙂 It sounds wonderful and like it will be a great addition to our list. What family hasn’t dealt with these issues? Thanks so much for sharing this fun-sounding book!

  13. Really like how you take this book and use it with your own children and use it like a game. It is such a great idea to open let kids release frustration. It also shows that parents aren’t perfect. Imagine it can be humbling. Great selection Julie.

  14. This book sounds great! have to get this for my 6 year old!
    thnak you for the post 🙂

  15. You had me at the title, too. Reassuring for kids that even when they try our patience, we love them. It could be difficult at times to say such things without “sarcasming” (great word) but it would be a good thing to do, to remind the kids — and ourselves.

  16. Oh, the whining! I always tell my kids that my ears shut off when they whine. If they want to talk to me, they have to get it together and speak in a clear voice. I LOVE your suggestion for the activity to go with this book, I think it could be great! Thanks, Julie.

  17. Oh that cover!!! Love it! I need to read this one 🙂

  18. I love your activity. I’m adding this to my list. We can request books at no charge from my CO-library district.

  19. Julie, I love how you and your kids talked about your experiences after reading the book together.

    It is so hard to deal with whining sometimes (makes me go bonkers!), but I like the positive spin this book takes. Thanks for the review.

  20. I like how you’ve used this book to create a lighthearted way to vent with your family. Thank you for sharing it!

  21. Oh my, I laughed out loud when I read the comments here. .. from Gina’s confession, to the clever new phasing… sarcasming and my initial vision of a stream of adults lining up to buy this book, not for their kids but for themselves. Me included…. (I tell my husband, I love his stroppyness) …lol. What a great book Julie..the author cleverly touches on reverse psychology…. a must read, loved the illustrations, and the fact you use this technic with your own children.

  22. What a perfect choice for PPBF, Julie!
    “I love it when” everyone picks books I’ve never read!!!
    Seriously, this is a wonderful book…kids will definitely see themselves in it…and your family activity is GREAT! I think this would be a helpful book for counselors to use with troubled families…putting a light-hearted perspective on things that annoy or frustrate.

  23. I have never heard of this book, but it sounds brilliant! I will have to check it out and do the activity that you suggested. Love it!

  24. I HAVE to get this book out! (We are going through some whining in my house right now and we need a giggle-filled release!) I’m happy to have joined the PPBF bloggers!

  25. What a great book and I love your activity. I know I need to pick this one up and encourage the same activity in my house.
    A2ZMommy and What’s In Between

  26. Will have to check this out. Love your activity idea. Me and my girls could probably use some of that.

Powered by WishList Member - Membership Software