I believe Valentine’s Day is my favorite holiday of the year because it’s all about showing others how much you care about them. What better way to reveal your true feelings about that special person than through these wonderful picture books.
Because of You: A Book of Kindness, by B. G. Hennessy, and warmly painted with water-colors and ink by Hiroe Nakata, reinforces the contagious actions of friendliness, kindness and love. The examples of these actions are demonstrated with short, descriptive sentences making this sweet, small-sized book perfect for youngsters as they become aware of the meaning of selflessness. But it’s also a wonderful reminder for all ages of how we should always be thinking of how to be helpful and kind to others.
All Kinds of Kisses, by Nancy Tafuri, is a sweet full-spread picture book with an ambiance of watercolor and pencil that fills each open page. The story showcases baby farm animals as they demonstrate the love for their mothers, each making their unique sound. This beautifully painted book is perfect for toddlers as they will surely become engaged in both picture and story.
Love Waves, by Rosemary Wells, celebrates the great bond between mother and child and then father and child as each parent goes off to work. Even though there are situations where both parents might have to work, this book shows the child that each parent is constantly thinking and caring about their child. The bunny family shown in the story is painted with vibrant pastels. The blue satin ribbon of “love waves” that attaches each pair drifts from page to page making the connection complete. The reassuring and rhyming couplets complete the loving relationship.
The Kiss Box, by Bonnie Verburg, and painted with watercolor and colored pencil by Henry Cole, is another sweet story about the worries of separation between child and parent. When Mama Bear has to leave for an extended amount of time, Little Bear feels some anxiety. But he comes up with an idea to keep their love close to each other. He makes a small box and fills it up with cutout paper hearts. Mama Bear does the same. So whenever either misses the other, they can hold the box close or open it to “send kisses back and forth.” The comforting pictures demonstrate the many activities mama and her young bear enjoy together.
Zombie in Love, by Kelly DiPucchio, and painted with cartoon-style watercolor by Scott Campbell, is a hilarious story that will make kids laugh out loud. Mortimer is a zombie who is looking for love. He can’t seem to locate someone who has the same tastes in life. For instance, he attempts to give a girl a heart shaped box full of live worms and he tries to give another girl a real heart. He places an ad in the newspaper with the headline, “Tall, Dead & Handsome”, indicating he’ll be at the Cupid’s Ball, hoping he’ll find someone who also is looking for love as well. The many comedic antics he displays throughout will surely have the reader, and listener, smiling. Does he finally find his true love? You’ll have to discover this for yourself.
Who Will Be My Valentine This Year?, by Jerry Pallotta, and brightly painted by David Biedrzycki, has recently been published in paperback. An energetic pink hippo asks “Will you be my Valentine?”, but all her friends answer no. But she’s in for a surprise at the end of the story.
Guess How Much I Love You: The Pop-Up Edition, by Sam McBratney, and beautifully painted in watercolor by Anita Jeram and engineered with the pop-ups by Corina Fletcher, is the same tender, sweet story showcasing the loving relationship between father bunny and his young hare. This pop-up version is an over-sized book that features pop-ups, pull-tabs and flaps that open making this an interactive book.
Curious George Says Thank You Book and Stationery Kit, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, is actually my favorite of the bunch because it encourages kids to write their thoughtful messages to people they appreciate. What better time of year than during this holiday? This kit includes 10 note cards, envelopes, stickers and an address book along with H. A. and Margaret Rey’s “Curious George Says Thank You” paperback storybook.
Elmo Loves You! Pop-Up Book, by Sesame Street Workshop, is an interactive large picture book full of the TV characters that pre-schoolers can identify with. The book has pull-tabs, pop-ups, wheels that turn and more. And, it’s all about the love generated by a generation of adoring puppets.
Holly E. Newton, M. A.
Newton’s Book News