Best New Books for Valentine’s Day

| February 6, 2012 | 0 Comments

By Nicki Richesin, The Children’s Book Review
Published: February 6, 2012

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and you know what that means: time to read some love stories! Below are just a few selections with which you’re sure to fall in love. So snuggle up with your favorite little reader and share a good laugh, a cuddle, and a whole lotta love.

Mr. Prickles

By Kara LaReau; illustrated by Scott Magoon

Even though Mr. Prickles may be prickly on the outside, he’s warm and fuzzy on the inside and looking for someone to see past his rough exterior. Thank goodness for Miss Pointypants who knows a thing or two about being judged on her sharp appearance. The deeper message LaReau humorously imparts is how to control one’s anger when ostracized by friends. Little kids who have been banished from the sandbox will love Mr. Prickles. (Ages 2-6. Publisher: Roaring Brook Press)

A Giant Crush

By Gennifer Choldenko; illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Ah, young love. This book is absolutely perfect for second and third graders confused by their beloved’s sudden mood swings. When a little bunny falls in love with another funny bunny, what’s a bunny to do? Leave it to a good friend to help him unravel the mysteries and agonies of a first crush. First rule of thumb: you have to speak to the one you love. (Ages 5-8. Publisher: Penguin Group (USA))

Love, Splat

By Rob Scotton

This tale about two star-crossed cats is seriously funny. Scotton’s silly illustrations of Splat the Cat reminded me just a bit of Garfield, but his story is pure fun. Splat goes to great lengths to impress his lady love, Kitten, but when Spike intervenes, it seems all is lost. Leave it to Kitten, with her feline prowess, to choose the best suitor to win her affections. (Ages 4-7. Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers)

Hedgehug

By Benn Sutton; illustrated by Dan Pinto

Two books about pointy critters in one review? Yes, indeed. In this “sharp lesson in love,” Hedgehug discovers love hurts after his many failed attempts to share a hug. In Sutton’s playful yet tender story, Hedgehug will also find all you need is love. (Ages 4-7. Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers)

Henry’s Heart

By Charise Mericle Harper

Harper’s informative look at the functions and needs of a growing boy’s heart features amusing illustrations of Henry’s friends and family members’ running commentary on his predicament. In the end, Henry learns how to take care of himself, his heart, and his new canine friend. Harper sweetly dedicates Henry’s Heart to the students of Daniel Warren Elementary School (listing every student’s name in the front of the book). (Ages 5-8. Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR))

 The Best Kind of Kiss

By Margaret Allum; illustrated by Jonathan Bentley

For daddy’s girls everywhere, the best kind of kiss is found in the arms of good ol’ pop. Whether making up, cuddling or bidding a fond farewell, you can say it with a kiss to build a dream on. Bentley’s imaginative illustrations will make you want to pucker up with your sweetie. (Ages 3-6. Publisher: Walker & Company)

Big Hugs, Little Hugs

By Felicia Bond

Bestselling artist of If You Give A Mouse a Cookie, Felicia Bond, has created a fitting tribute to hugs for all sorts of lovable creatures including hamsters, hippos, kangaroos, and penguins. Her cut paper artwork will inspire children to create their own designs. (Ages 3-5. Publisher: Penguin Group (USA))

Just Because You’re Mine

By Sally Lloyd-Jones; illustrated by Frank Endersby

Little Red Squirrel plays a guessing game with his father as to why he loves him. Endersby’s delicate paintings of the squirrels’ adventures are well-matched with Lloyd-Jones’s touching story. (Ages 3-7. Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers)

Amelia Bedelia’s First Valentine

By Herman Parish; illustrated by Lynne Avril

Although Amelia Bedelia often misunderstands common expressions, (and thus provides children endless belly laughs) she resourcefully solves a problem and saves her Valentine’s Day class party. Perhaps best of all, little Amelia Bedelia has a very big heart and gratitude for her doting parents. Peggy Parish’s nephew Herman carries on the tradition with his modern update on the classic series of beloved books. (Ages 5-8. Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books)

Time for a Hug

By Phillis Gershator and Mim Green; illustrated by David Walker

In simple yet playful rhyme, mother-daughter duo Gershator and Green insist that children know it’s always time for a hug. David Walker’s charming illustrations of the rabbit family’s routine day, working and playing together, offers comfort and reassurance to little readers. (Ages 3-5. Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books)

Nicki Richesin is the editor of four anthologies,What I Would Tell Her: 28 Devoted Dads on Bringing Up, Holding On To, and Letting Go of Their Daughters; Because I Love Her: 34 Women Writers Reflect on the Mother-Daughter Bond; Crush: 26 Real-Life Tales of First Love; and The May Queen: Women on Life, Work, and Pulling it all Together in your Thirties. Her anthologies have been excerpted and praised in The New York Times, the San Francisco ChronicleThe Boston GlobeRedbookParenting, CosmopolitanBustSalonDaily Candy, and Babble.

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Category: Ages 0-3, Ages 4-8, Best Kids Stories, Book Lists, Picture Books, Seasonal: Holiday Books

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