Guess How Much I Love You by author Sam McBratney: A Heartwarming Tale

A Timeless Children’s Classic That Teaches the Boundlessness of Love


“Guess How Much I Love You” follows the bedtime adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare and his father, Big Nutbrown Hare. As Little Nutbrown Hare gets ready to go to sleep, he asks his father just how much he loves him. Big Nutbrown Hare tenderly stretches out his arms as wide as he can and answers, “I love you as high as I can reach.” But Little Nutbrown Hare thinks he can love even more than that, so he stretches his smaller arms up as high as they can go. And so begins a loving competition between father and son as they continue trying to outdo each other in expressing the depth of their love.

They jump and reach, stretch their arms and legs, all in an effort to demonstrate the vastness of their affection for one another. Finally, Little Nutbrown Hare yawns an enormous yawn that makes Big Nutbrown Hare chuckle and scoop him up. He gives his little one a kiss and squeezes him tight as he reiterates that he loves him right up to the moon, closing their competition in a tender moment full of warmth. As Little Nutbrown Hare finally falls asleep nestled in his father’s arms knowing how he is so completely cherished, this classic bedtime story comes to an end.

Guess How Much I Love You by author Sam McBratney

You can find Guess How Much I Love You by author Sam McBratney on your favorite bookstore, including and Amazon UK.

About author Sam McBratney

Author Sam McBratney

Beloved children’s author Sam McBratney has touched the hearts of readers worldwide with his timeless tales and lovable characters. Born in 1943 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, McBratney discovered his passion for storytelling at a young age. Though he studied history and political science at Trinity College, Dublin, he ultimately pursued his creative calling, working as a teacher before becoming a full-time writer in his mid-30s.

McBratney found his niche writing heartwarming picture books for young readers. His classic 1994 work “Guess How Much I Love You,” beautifully illustrated by Anita Jeram, stands out as his most well-known and adored book. This poignant bedtime story about Little Nutbrown Hare and his desire to express the breadth of his love for Big Nutbrown Hare has captured imaginations for decades. With warm humor and minimal text, McBratney conveys the boundless affection between parent and child, making it a beloved multigenerational family tale.

The runaway success of “Guess How Much I Love You” established McBratney as a singular voice in children’s literature. He went on to pen over 50 children’s books, creating such unforgettable characters as depressed dentist Little Croker and lovestruck puffin Patrick. Though his body of work varies widely in subject matter, McBratney’s books all share his deft, gentle touch and subtle life lessons on friendship, family, and finding happiness in simple things. His colorful cast speaks directly to early readers just beginning their literary journey.

Throughout his prolific career, McBratney garnered prestigious accolades cementing his legacy. In addition to numerous children’s choice awards voted on by young readers themselves, he received the British Book Award for “You’re All My Favorites” in 1995. Just months before his death in 2020 at age 77, McBratney enjoyed a deeply meaningful honor when Queen Elizabeth II named him a Member of the Order of the British Empire for his services to literature.

Sam McBratney left an indelible mark on children’s books, crafting stories that validate young emotions and nurture fledgling readers. Though he is no longer writing new tales, his body of work lives on as a testament to his warmth, wisdom, wit, and understanding of a child’s mind and heart. For as Little Nutbrown Hare lovingly declares, the reach of Sam McBratney’s legacy will always extend “right up to the moon – AND BACK.”

Why This Simple Tale Resonates So Beautifully

In just over thirty pages with minimal text, Sam McBratney has managed to craft an enduring masterpiece that deeply resonates with readers both young and old. “Guess How Much I Love You” beautifully conveys the message that a parent’s love knows no bounds through the playful antics of these two endearing hares. Their loving rivalry serves as the perfect metaphor for the limitlessness of a parent’s affection for their child. No matter how much Little Nutbrown Hare thinks he loves his father, Big Nutbrown Hare gently shows that his parental love is beyond compare.

The competitive yet affectionate nature of their game makes the characters so relatable and charming. As I read this story, I can’t help but smile at Little Nutbrown Hare’s attempts to outdo his father, just as I’m touched by Big Nutbrown Hare’s patience and tenderness. Their game draws me into the warmth of this relationship between father and son as I reminisce on similar precious moments from my own childhood when I tried to fully grasp the extent of my parents’ love.

McBratney’s use of vivid descriptive language also perfectly captures these sentiments. Phrases like “as high as I can reach” and “right up to the moon” convey an infinite, immeasurable love that reassures young ones of just how cherished they are. The rich illustrations by Anita Jeram support the minimal text to accurately depict this powerful message as well. Her beautiful scenic paintings immerse readers into the coziness of this bedtime tale. The adorable father and son hare duo charmingly beam out from each page, their eyes brimming with affection.

Jeram’s skilled use of color also helps set the sleepy, peaceful mood as the sky shifts from golden hour to glittery night to sleepy pre-dawn. The curved lines of the amply flowering trees seem to lovingly cocoon the pair. Each illustration feels comforting, enhancing the genuine warmth between Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare.

Why Parents and Children Alike Should Get Lost in This Tender Tale

As a parent, sharing this touching story with my little one at bedtime allows us to share an intimate bonding moment, not all that different from the two loving hares. The messages at the heart of this book are so poignant as I reassure my child of my endless love through heartfelt words and an affectionate cuddle, just like Big Nutbrown Hare does. As I gaze at the illustrations of the tired little hare snuggling into his father’s embrace under the starry sky, I can’t help but tenderly stroke my own child’s hair as they drift off to sleep.

Beyond the context of bedtime, this book also serves as the perfect opportunity to remind my child that they are so deeply loved at other quiet moments during the day. Its themes of limitless love resonate broadly for both children and parents alike. I know that after reading this beloved tale together, my little one feels entirely reassured and protected in the unconditional love I have for them. What else do parents dream for their children?

For young readers, this story also plays an important role in their emotional development. The portrayals of loving affection help children cognitively understand love as an intangible concept of immense depth. By seeing Little Nutbrown Hare and Big Nutbrown Hare stretch their arms or bound across the page, children grasp the notion that love takes up space even if it can’t physically be touched. This mental visualization is an important building block in their comprehension of affectionate relationships.

The competitive back and forth also engages a child’s imagination to envision what “as high as I can reach” or “up to the moon” might look like. As their minds eye conjures up these wonderful visions of love, children become reassured that they are completely surrounded by warmth and care, just like how Little Nutbrown Hare contentedly falls asleep nestled inside his father’s caring embrace. What child wouldn’t flourish knowing the security of a parent’s unlimited devotion?

The Enduring Popularity of This Heartfelt Tale

Since its 1994 publication, “Guess How Much I Love You” has sold over 43 million copies worldwide and been published in 57 languages. It continues to touch the hearts of families everywhere thanks to its universal themes that cross cultures. McBratney’s lyrically beautiful writing combined with Jeram’s charming illustrations have made this picture book a timeless classic that parents will keep sharing with their children for generations to come.

It has won numerous awards, including being named in the Top Ten Children’s Books of the Last 10 Years by the UK National Education Association in 2005. Its long-lasting impact is a testament to how this simple yet profound bedtime story gives touching voice to the depth of a parent’s love. Reading this book with my children remains one of my most cherished bonding experiences I wouldn’t trade for anything else in the world.

More Endearing Tales for the Whole Family

If your family delighted in “Guess How Much I Love You,” here are five more heartwarming stories you’re sure to enjoy reading together:

  • ❤️ Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak – Max’s imaginary adventure reminds children that a parent’s love welcomes them back after even the wildest rumpus.
  • ❤️ Love You Forever by Robert Munsch – A mother’s unconditional love follows her boy through all of life’s stages.
  • ❤️ The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown – No matter where this little bunny runs off to, his mother’s love finds him anywhere.
  • ❤️ The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams – A toy rabbit becomes real through the enduring love of a child.
  • ❤️ I’ll Love You Forever by Caroline Jayne Church – With charming illustrations of baby animals, this book playfully expresses a parent’s endless love.

Whichever delightful tale you and your family cuddle up with, the profound messages of love and connection are sure to inspire cozy moments full of joy and laughter. Here’s to reading heartwarming stories together that you’ll treasure for a lifetime!


What kind of book “Guess How Much I Love You” is?

“Guess How Much I Love You” is a touching children’s picture book about the heartwarming bedtime game a young bunny plays with his father, seeing who can come up with the most imaginative way to express their boundless love for one another, before finally curling up for the little one to fall asleep, safe and content in his papa’s arms knowing he is cherished beyond compare.

Who are the main characters in the book?

The main characters are a father-son pair of brown hares called Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare. It captures their special bond and the depths of a parent’s affection through their sweet bedtime ritual of finding new ways to say just how much unconditional love stretches between them.

What kind of illustrations are in the book?

The illustrations by Anita Jeram are beautifully painted scenic images that take place at sunset and nighttime inside a little house and the nature around it. They have a soft, magical quality with lots of flowers and moonbeams that capture the loving connection between Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown as they gaze into each other’s eyes.

Has “Guess How Much I Love You” won any award?

Some of the many honors this enduring picture book classic has earned include being named one of the Top Ten Children’s Books of the Last 10 Years by the UK National Education Association in 2005. It’s also been on the New York Times Best Seller list and nominated for a Carnegie Medal in the UK.

What makes this book so special?

What makes “Guess How Much I Love You” so special is its timeless message about a parent’s unlimited love for their child. The endearing back-and-forth game between the hares models just how strong and endless affection is between parent and child, allowing it to resonate with families across generations.

Is there any specific age range recommendation for “Guess How Much I Love You”?

This tender bedtime story is aimed at very young ages around 1-4 years old. Both children and parents can appreciate the simple yet profoundly moving way it captures the depth of a parent’s love for their little one. Its soothing scenes also make great calming reading right before bed.

What themes does the book explore?

Key themes in “Guess How Much I Love You” include the immeasurable love between family, especially parents and children. It also explores imagination, play, and bedtime rituals. Overall, its beautiful message is about reassurance, warmth, protection and just how strong the parent-child bond really is.

Does “Guess How Much I Love You” have a sequel?

Yes, author Sam McBratney has written several sequels over the years. These include “Guess How Much I Love You in the Springtime” “Guess How Much I Love You: My Baby Book”, and “You’re All My Favorites” which continues the sweet father-son relationship between Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare.

How many pages is “Guess How Much I Love You?” long?

“Guess How Much I Love You” is 32 pages long. Despite being short in length, it leaves an enduring impact thanks to its relatable characters and universal message about the comforting reassurance of a parent’s endless love. Both children and parents will want to read this bedtime story over and over.

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