The Children’s Book Review | February 11, 2014
Everybody needs to feel love, especially the unconditional kind that flows between parents and their children. Telling and showing our kids how much we love them is an important element in raising emotionally healthy little “Human Beans” (as Roald Dahl’s BFG would say). Each of the books below are beautiful expressions of love that convey the message to young readers just how treasured they are and how they themselves can spread love and put smiles on faces. Beyond Jack Prelutsky’s must have poetry book for early readers and classrooms (It’s Valentine’s Day), the 8 picture books listed here are not just Valentine’s Day Books, they are melt-you-heart-all-year-round stories to be savored and cherished. Catching Kisses and Love Monster make great gift books for adults, too.
By Nick Bland; Illustrated by Freya Blackwood
“Mommy,” said Lucy. “Can I have a hug before I go to bed?”
When Mommy jokes that she only has one hug left, Lucy decides she must keep Mommy’s last hug safe. As Lucy shares the hug with everyone in her large and loving family, she is always careful to get it back . . . until the canine member of the family refuses to play along!
Highly acclaimed, internationally bestselling picture-book creators Nick Bland and Freya Blackwood collaborate for the first time on this charming story, which celebrates the imaginative powers of children and the extraordinary love to be found in ordinary bedtime routines.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers | Dec. 24, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0449818251
Whimsical watercolors illustrate a comical, cumulative tale of an amorous mouse who aims impossibly high—and learns that you’re never too little (or too big) to love.
Tiny Too-Little loves someone who’s very, very tall, and Tiny wants a kiss. What if he stands on his tiptoes on top of a thimble? What if he stands on his tiptoes on top of a matchbox on top of a thimble? Clever cut-away pages show Tiny’s precarious pile growing higher and higher, while the object of his affection stays just out of reach. When the teetering stack finally falls with a crash, will his hopes be dashed? How can a tiny mouse get the kiss he needs?
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: Candlewick | Dec. 24, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0763666569
By Rachel Bright
Love Monster is a slightly hairy monster trying to fit in with the cuddly residents of Cutesville. But as it turns out, it’s hard to fit in with the cute and the fluffy when you’re a googly-eyed monster. And so, Love Monster sets out to find someone who will love him just the way he is. His journey is not easy—he looks high, low, and even middle-ish. But as he soon finds out, in the blink of a googly eye, love can find you when you least expect it.
Look out for Love Monster and the Perfect Present, coming in Fall 2014.
Ages 2-4 | Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux | Dec. 24, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0374346461
By Jack Prelutsky; Illustrated by Marylin Hafner
These fourteen silly, sweet poems by nationally bestselling author Jack Prelutsky are perfect for Valentine’s Day. This Level 4 I Can Read title is ideal for readers who are ready for wordplay, exciting themes, and fun vocabulary words!
Fourteen easy-to-read poems go straight to the heart—and the funny bone—of the fourteenth of February. Jack Prelutsky, the nation’s first children’s poet laureate and a popular and bestselling poet, does for Valentine’s Day what he has already done for Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween—and the results are delectable. Publishers Weekly said, “Cheers for Prelutsky, ingenious rhymester beloved by children who recognize themselves in collections like this.” It’s Valentine’s Day! is illustrated in full color, and it is a perfect choice for independent readers as well as a perfect bridge to chapter books.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Greenwillow Books | Dec. 10, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0060537142
By Anna Harber Freeman; Illustrated by Jed Henry
Love you more than ladybugs.
jump and run.
Love you more than playground fun.”
There’s nothing children like better than hearing how much their parents love them! And this rhyming read-aloud assures kids—in so many ways—that they’re loved more than anything in the world. Follow an adorable chipmunk family for a fun outing at the park, a special homemade cake after dinner, and a snuggle before bedtime—and all the while mom and dad find dozens of ways, big and small, to give their children the affection and security they crave.
Ages 3-5 | Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books | Jan. 7, 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-1454900214
By Amy Gibson; Illustrated by Maria Van Lieshout
At any given moment/someone, somewhere
is blowing a kiss.
And somewhere/someone/is catching it.
So begins this journey of the heart, as readers young and old follow a handful of kisses around the United States. From San Francisco to New Orleans to New York City, the text and stylized artwork celebrate all the ways kisses are shared.
Ages 3-6 | Publisher: Feiwel & Friends | Dec. 31, 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-0312376475
“Rose dreamed of her baby every night . . . She couldn’t wait to share hugs and giggles.”
A mother’s love comes from the heart, from the desire to embrace and nurture a child—whether or not she gave birth to that baby. This poetic and magical parable celebrates the richness of family as Rose and Charlie embark on the search for the child they so desperately want. As Rose’s dream gets closer to coming true, her heart grows and grows . . . until it bursts with happiness, laughter, and wonder when she finally kisses the beautiful face of her new baby.
First time author Berta Serrano and her brother Alfonso Serrano are the author-illustrator team behind this warm and quirky love letter for Berta’s adopted son.
Ages 3 and up | Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books | Oct. 15, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-1454911449
By Janet Lawler; Illustrated by Anna Brown
From author Janet Lawler comes a charming story celebrating the power of love, with warm and tender art from debut picture-book illustrator Anna Brown. Young readers will delight in following along families of foxes, bunnies, and bears as they learn about the nature of unconditional love in Love Is Real.
Ages 3-7 | Publisher: HarperCollins | Dec. 23, 2013 | ISBN-13: 978-0062241702
Peruse our previous Valentine’s Day Books listed on The Children’s Book Review to discover more beautiful picture books to love!