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Friday, February 10, 2012

A Hearty Helping of Valentine Books

Photo courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

It's almost Valentine's Day -- time for hearts and flowers and chocolate.  And books.  (It's always time for books.)  Here are a few picture books I found at the library that are fun reads for the month of February:

Happy Valentine's Day, Dolores, written and illustrated by Barbara Samuels, 2006...  Dolores is not supposed to touch her big sister Faye's things, but when she finds a heart-shaped box with a froggy necklace inside, she can't resist!  She decides to "borrow" it for a day, and then the trouble begins....

My boys and I got a kick out of this story and the illustrations ~ especially all the amusing expressions on the cat's face! 

If You'll Be My Valentine, written by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Fumi Kosaka, 2005...  A little boy thinks up ways to show his family how much he loves them.  With short valentine poems and charming illustrations, this is a heart-warming book for little ones and their parents.

Will You Be My Valenswine?, written by Teresa Bateman and illustrated by Kristina Stephenson, 2005...  Polly the piglet searches for the perfect valenswine.  She tries asking the roses on the fence, a bird -- even the slop in her trough -- before she finally realizes that a special someone has loved her all along.

My son Ben and I giggled and giggled as we read this funny book the other night!

The Ballad of Valentine, written by Alison Jackson and illustrated by Tricia Tusa, 2002...  The narrator sends note after note to his love, Valentine, but silly, unexpected things keep happening, preventing them from being delivered.

This hilarious story is told in the rhythm of the folk song "My Darling, Clementine".  At first I tried to read it to Ben, like any other story, but I ended up singing it instead! 

My Heart is Like a Zoo, written and illustrated by Michael Hall, 2010...  Hearts can be happy or lonely, brave or peaceful.  Using simple rhymes and bright illustrations created out of hearts, this book teaches young children about various emotions.

This isn't a valentine book per se, but with all the hearts, I thought it was appropriate.  Not only is the artwork delightful to look at (kids will enjoy counting all of the hearts in each picture!), but they also could be used as blueprints for making your own "wild" valentines.  My kids have made valentines for their classmates every February, and we've occasionally used hearts to create animals -- after reading this, Ben and I have all sorts of ideas for next year's valentines!

Guess How Much I Love You?, written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram, 1994...  I mentioned this book here last year, recommending it for Father's Day.  I also highly recommend it for Valentine's Day!  A sweet story about the love between a parent and a child, it makes my heart feel all warm and fuzzy every time I read it. :)

For the non-fiction fans out there:

Hearts, Cupids, and Red Roses: The Story of the Valentine Symbols, written by Edna Barth and illustrated by Ursula Arndt, 1974...  Filled with fun facts about St. Valentine, the typical symbols of the holiday, and the history of valentine cards, this book is much more interesting than I expected it to be when I first picked it up.  Even just flipping through it at the library, I learned several things about Valentine's Day that I'd never known before!

Crafts for Valentine's Day, written by Kathy Ross and illustrated by Sharon Lane Holm, 1995...  This book is filled with easy-to-make crafty ideas for homemade valentines, as well as valentine decorations for the home.

What are your favorite stories for Valentine's Day?  I'd love to hear about them!

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