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Sam McBratney, author of “Guess How Much I Love You” The Babble.com Q

Over 30 years, author and teacher Sam McBratney has written dozens of children’s books, but he’s best known for the perennial baby shower favorite Guess How Much I Love You, which has been translated into thirty-seven languages and produced on stage. From his home in Northern Ireland, McBratney talked to Babble about “mums” and “wee ones,” and enlightened us on the difference between a hare and a bunny. – Jennifer V. Hughes 

This happened to me and to every woman I know: while reading your book to our floppy, oblivious newborns, we became so overwhelmed with love that we wound up sobbing uncontrollably. How does it feel to know your story has touched so many emotionally-unstable post-partum women?

The response to Guess continually surprises me. You have to remember that Guess How Much I Love You was written to be a light-hearted exploration of the relationship between a big one and a wee one, to be read by one to the other, and to be laughed at and enjoyed by both. However, no writer controls his or her audience. Guess has many audiences in all age groups and has been used in all kinds of ways, including circumstances of celebration and even of bereavement. People do use the book to carry and convey powerful emotional messages.

What was it like for you when this book became such a massive success? Did you expect that?

No rational person expects sales over twenty million copies in twelve years, especially with no TV or cinema tie-up.

Bunnies seem to be a big theme in children’s literature (Peter Rabbit, Pat the Bunny, Watership Down). Why do you think this is?

Grrrr! Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare are not bunnies. A hare is not a rabbit. Look at Anita’s drawings. They are awkward, angular, bony creatures of the wild and of ancient lore.

What was one of your favorite books as a child?

I was born in 1943, the year after El Alamein and quite a few years before you could count on your daily bread, never mind a book. The first books I remember reading were books my father left lying about the place; they were westerns by Zane Grey.

Be honest. Tell me about a book that your kids asked you to read so many times that you wanted to burn it.

No book fits that description; however, I do remember telling my kids stories every night about a boy called Wise Eyes and his motley crew of forest animals. Wise Eyes even had his own whistle as he came up the stairs. That becomes very tiresome after a few years.

To order
Guess How Much I Love You, click here.

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