Love You When You Whine

a picture book; illustrations by Sergio Ruzzier; FSG/Frances Foster, Fall 2006

Love you when you whine.
Love you when you interrupt.
Love you when you don't say 'please'.
Love you when you pour cereal on the floor.
And when you ask for every toy in the whole store, one after the other.
Love you. Yes, I do.

A Book of the Month Club alternate selection. A Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year. 

What People Say about Love You When You Whine

"The great charm of this book is that page after dastardly and unrelentingly recognizable page, for all of the antics and subsequent parental pain so cheerfully and colorfully described and indicated, we have not a moment's doubt that this mother is telling the truth. In the brave tradition of Lore Segal and Tomi Ungerer, this quality, for all of the naughtiness, is the mark of a truly fine and honest "mommy mommy" book. Though I am positive your angels would never, ever, ever do a single thing like this little monster does, they will laugh to the point of squealing, and delight in someone else making the wrong choices. As for you, the lap-provider, you'll at least be able to make that connection of loving wholeheartedly. No matter what."   -- Esme Raji Codell, author of Sahara Special, Educating Esme and How to Get Your Child to Love Reading, in 

Unlike that self-satisfied bunny inGuess How Much I Love You and others of his ilk, here's a parent whose claim of unconditional love has some grit. A resigned mother cat lists numerous scenarios in which her impish less than well-behaved, but, of course, still loved. Jenkins's examples range from the common "Love you when you don't say 'please'" to the brave "Love you when you hit someone" to the wonderfully distinctive "Love you when you scream 'Lollipop lollipop lollipop' for forty-five minutes on line at the bank" -- yet all capture the universally difficult yet amusing (see the girl make origami with her mother's checkbook) aspects of life with a preschooler.   -- The Horn Book

"Youngsters will smile at both the kitten's tolerance-testing tricks and also the knowledge that a parent's devotion will withstand a bit of a whine and other transgressions." 
  -- Publishers Weekly


Dear Readers,

I wrote Love You When You Whine when my daughter was two years old. 
Many days, parenting was a challenge; when she wasn't being 
ridiculously naughty, she was melting into tears over some small 
frustration. When she wasn't making a mess, she was asking for candy.
Being a book person, I read stacks of parenting books which gave a 
wide range of suggestions for dealing with toddler mayhem - but 
there was one consistent message, and it rang true for me: don't 
withhold your love. Every child deserves to feel unconditionally 
beloved, and that certainty is the foundation for good discipline. I 
realized I could let my daughter know how much I loved her -- and 
still let her know that certain behaviors were unacceptable.
Love You When You Whine came out my deep love for my daughter.

When she and I read it together, she is sometimes shocked at Kitten's 
misdeeds, sometimes gleeful, and sometimes empathetic. She understands how Kitten must be feeling.

"Do you ever refuse to get dressed?" I ask her.

She nods.

"Do you ever hit somebody, when you don't know what else to do?"

She nods again.

"Do I like it when you do those things?" I press.

She shakes her head, no. But then pipes up, "You love me, anyway."

"That's right, I do."

I hope this book will inspire conversations; and I hope it will make both you and your children laugh in recognition.

Emily Jenkins