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Sam McBratney (1943–2020), children’s author of “Guess How Much I Love You”

by Linnea Crowther

Sam McBratney was an Irish author of books for children and adults, best known for the children’s bestseller “Guess How Much I Love You.”

Guess How Much I Love You

McBratney had written several books before the publication of his most famous work, including the novels “Mark Time” and “The Chieftain’s Daughter.” But it was with “Guess How Much I Love You,” published in 1994, that he achieved quick and lasting success. The gentle picture book follows two nutbrown hares, presumably father and son, as they tell each other how much they love each other. The book has sold more than 43 million copies and been translated into 57 languages, and an animated TV adaptation was developed in 2010. McBratney wrote several follow-ups to “Guess How Much I Love You,” including “When I’m Big” and “The Adventures of Little Nutbrown Hare.” A sequel, “Will You Be My Friend,” will be published in late September of 2020.

McBratney on writing for children

“Well, there’s no such thing as a formula. You cannot say writing a picture book — good ones — is a formula. But I do have an approach, which I tend to take. And I would summarize it by saying I tend to look for significant moments of interaction between a big one and a wee one, usually parent and child. I try to render that, I try to describe that interaction truthfully and I try to render it with a light touch.” —from a 2011 interview with Reading Rockets


Tributes to Sam McBratney

Full obituary: The Washington Post

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