Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch (Eileen Spinelli)

Hello, friends! Part two of our special weekend reviews, and a great one for Valentine’s Day eve: Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch, written by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Paul Yalowitz, a classic story of the good that one Valentine can do.

Lonely Mr. Hatch leads a very humdrum life: he goes to work at the shoelace factory, eats his lunch alone, buys the same two things at the same two shops on the way home, then goes to bed – day in and day out. That is, until the day the postman brings him a enormous box of chocolates! The card reads only: “Somebody loves you”. Ecstatic over the revelation of having a secret admirer, Mr. Hatch finds a pep in his step and a smile on his face. He shares the chocolate with coworkers and shakes up his routine. He connects with the shopkeepers and offers them help when they are in need of assistance. He bakes brownies and hosts picnics for the neighborhood. For weeks, he seems like a new man – that is, until the postman returns…

Genuinely sweet. Celebrating it’s 30th anniversary, Spinelli’s tale proves itself to have timeless appeal with a story about the importance and impact of small kindnesses. While Mr. Hatch’s first Valentine turns out to be the result of a mistake, it inspires him to find the self-esteem to reach out and show love to others, who return the sentiment in his time of need. It’s a classic theme and executed in a way that is truly heartwarming. Yalowitz’s illustrations have a nice use of color to show the rise and fall of Mr. Hatch’s self esteem, but do show their age a bit: most of the characters present as white with very few representations of diversity in any sense. The length is best for elementary readers, but JJ and I both enjoyed the touching story. This is a great way to explore the importance of kindness and expressing love to, and we liked it a lot. Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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