Reviews for Jerome By Heart

by Thomas Scotto

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Two little boys share an intense friendship.Narrator Raphael "loves Jerome"saying it is "easy." Raphael doesn't understand why his mother dismisses Jerome as "charming" or why his father says "it's a pity' that Jerome doesn't play soccer." Jerome "always sees" Raphael, shares snacks, defends Raphael against bullies, and tells great stories. Spending a day with Jerome is pure nourishment for Raphael: "By lunch, we've laughed so hard our stomachs hurt. And by dinner, I've stocked up enough of Jerome to last me the whole night." Tallec's loose line-and-watercolor paintings use gentle humor to introduce them, placing the two boys on bikes, side by side and hand in hand, in front of a line of clearly slowly moving cars: So happy are they that they do not notice. He situates the two boys in scenes suffused in warm colors, their body language mirroring each other's, as do their pale skin and round, red heads. But when Raphael's parents get uptight about this bond, the palette darkens to cold, lonely blues. The text is open enough that readers will take what they need from the story. Some children will see simply two very good friends, while others will see validation of feelings they may not know how to express, particularly if their parents are as hostile as Raphael's. Raphael gives them the language they need: "I sayyes. Raphael loves Jerome. I say it. It's easy."Subtle, joyous, affirming. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Raphael, the young narrator of this groundbreaking picture book, loves his friend Jerome. "It doesn't bother me at all," the boy explains. "Raphael loves Jerome. I can say it. It's easy." Jerome is caring, generous, funny, and always ready for adventure. Most important, he reciprocates Raphael's affection ("He always holds my hand. It's true. Really tight"), even though there are intimations that Jerome is more socially adept: "Jerome always sees me, even when he's with friends.... He defends me when kids make fun of me. Incredible, right?" Although Raphael's parents never put a label on it, their son's intense affection for his friend and his unfiltered expression of it clearly bother them; Dad seethes, his voice "like sharp fish bones in my hot chocolate." But the bond between the boys is unbreakable, and as the book closes, they blithely walk across the street together, holding hands. The story invites conversation among readers of all ages, and the sensitivity of the minimalist text (despite a few overwrought moments) and poignancy of Tallec's radiant, gentle art are undeniable. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Little Raphael loves his best friend Jerome, who holds his hand, always chooses him as his buddy on field trips, shares his snacks, defends him when kids make fun of him, and makes up the best stories. Raphael loves Jerome, the boy muses, adding, I can say it. It's easy. Unfortunately it's not so easy for Raphael's father, who thinks it's a pity that Jerome doesn't play soccer, grouching Now that's enough when his son talks too enthusiastically about his best friend. It's not like Jerome is a bad word, Raphael thinks defiantly, determining he will find a present for Jerome, something strong as a fortress that will last forever. After all, Raphael loves Jerome. I can say it. It's easy. Originally published in France, this gentle, sweet-spirited story is a testament to the power of childhood friendship and the timeless power of love. The softly colored cartoonlike illustrations by Tallec perfectly capture the mood and spirit of the text, deftly translated by Bedrick and Snelson. The result is a book to treasure.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2018 Booklist

Horn Book
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In a bittersweet story of a tender bond between narrator Raphael and his friend Jerome, the opening illustration shows the boys riding bicycles hand-in-hand. Their obliviousness to the traffic jam behind them creates humor but also anticipates their need to ignore others' judgment. Raphael's righteous anger at his parents' disapproval fuels his resolve in the poignant (and satisfying) conclusion to remain loyal to Jerome and to his own heart. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.