Now that we are in the throes of wintertime, Valentine’s Day is just what we need to lighten up these cold, dark days. Here is a collection of wonderful books celebrating the season and the holiday. All of these are picture books and are great for ages three to six, unless otherwise indicated.
Also, the 2020 Caldecott Awards for best illustrated books were recently announced. The medal winner is The Undefeated,by Alexander and illustrated by Nelson. The honor books are: Bear Came Along, illustrated by Pham and written by Morris; Double Bass Blues,illustrated by Gutierrez and written by Loney; and Going Down Home with Daddy, illustrated by Minter and written by Lyons.
The Newbery Award is given to the most outstanding children’s book published. New Kid by Craft is the medal winner. The honor books are: The Undefeated by Alexander; Scary Stories for Foxes by Heidicker and illustrated by Wu; Other Words for Home by Warga; and Genesis Begins Again by Williams.
One Snowy Morning, by Kevin Tsung, and wonderfully drawn with pencil and colored digitally by Dana Wulfekotte, is actually a humorous take on a snowman. When two little animals (a cute little squirrel and chipmunk) look upon a pile of snow they don’t know they are looking at a snowman. They take items from the snowman and rename each, as well as utilize them for a variety of purposes. They name the carrot as a “dragon tooth” and begin to make a soup. The buttons become plates and the top hat is useful as a table. The story invites creativity to the fullest and youngsters will thoroughly enjoy it. Be sure to check out the clever end pages!
Wild Honey From the Moon, by Kenneth Kraegel, is an early chapter book good for ages five through seven and is divided into seven chapters filled with beautiful and colorful illustrations. It begins “On the last day of January” where a mother shrew finds that her young son is very ill. She discovers that the cure is wild honey from the moon. As she sets out to obtain the cure she encounters many obstacles, but this doesn’t stop her. This richly told adventure will become a favorite for youngsters ages four through eight. The vividly colored pictures, done in ink and watercolor, showcase the journey of this mother and her great love for her child.
All You Need for a Snowman, by Alice Schertle, and brightly painted by Barbara Lavalle, reads with a poetic rhythm that almost becomes a song. Begin with “one small flake” and then “two more snowflakes…/ three flakes…four / five…six…seven thousand / eight million more.” The adorable children working together to build this snowy man are bright and happy. And the delightful text is a toe-tapping experience.
The Little Snowplow Wishes for Snow, by Lora Koehler, and the illustrations perfectly done in pencil and rendered digitally by Jake Parker, is a return of the popular, “The Little Snowplow”, but this time he is waiting and waiting for snow to fall so he can get to work. He must wait for several winter months before the snow finally falls and he can begin his mighty plow. This is a perfect sequel to the first book.
A Day So Gray, by Marie Lamba, and illustrated with scanned scribble textures, Photoshop, and a touch of magic by Alea Marley, is a look into the deep beauties of color within the coldest season. When a young girl states “This day is so gray” her friend responds with showcasing the brilliance of color found in winter: “deep soft brown and shining blue and silver splashes on bright yellow.” The gray day transforms to a magical ambiance of glittering wonder yet to be discovered.
I Love All of Me, by Lorie Ann Grover, and brightly illustrated by Carolina Buzio, is a rhyming cushioned board book that celebrates everything about you. “I love my wiggle toes. I love my smelly nose.” Reinforcing all that is great about being you. Why not send yourself a loving valentine with thoughts about why you should feel good about yourself? What’s not to love?
All You Need is Love, by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and brightly illustrated by Marc Rosenthal, brings this iconic and famous song to life in this richly painted picture book. A bear is awakened by the singing of a bird to her young. As the bear follows them through the countryside, more animals become enchanted with the beautiful melody of the mother bird. Before you know it, there is a parade and the message of love is spreading throughout the land. What a perfect message!
The Friendship Book, by Mary Lyn Ray, and beautifully illustrated with pencil and watercolor and assembled and colored digitally by Stephanie Graegin, epitomizes the true meaning of Valentine’s Day. Being a friend, and treating a friend with honor and love, is something to be cherished. This poetic book truly celebrates what makes a true friend. The book explores different types of friendship and how some begin quickly, and others take some time. Embrace this ode to friendship.
Little Eva Loves, by Rebecca Elliott, is a brightly colored rhyming board book celebrating all things this little owl adores. “I love lending a helping hand…And HOOTing like I’m in a band! I love big laughs that reach my toes… and dressing up in silly clothes!” This sweet little book celebrates the love of self, friends and family.
You Loves Ewe! (A Yam and Donkey Book), story, pictures and wacky wordplay by Cece Bell, is the perfect book to teach and understand homonyms and phonology. This book is a companion to “I Yam a Donkey”. A hilarious potato, a yam, introduces his donkey friend to a female sheep, Ewe. Thus begins many misunderstood communications with Donkey. And thus begins the laugh-out-loud adventure and discussions between these characters. Chances are ewe will love this!
Lola Dutch I Love You So Much, by Kenneth and Sarah Jane Wright, is the third book in this delightful series. Lola is a very sweet and considerate friend to all. She is always aware of when and what her friends need and is at-the-ready to make, stitch and prepare something to lift her friend’s spirits. But when she forgets one of her dearest friends, Bear, see how she makes it all work out. This series advances the imagination with paper dolls and stage settings on the book jackets.