Valentine’s Day is a wonderful time to express your love and appreciation for dear ones. Here are some special books to help you show your deep feelings. All of the Valentine’s Day books are picture books good for ages three to eight, except for the “Fairy Tale Matchmaker” which is geared for ages eight to twelve. Also, Presidents’ Day is right around the corner and here are some great patriotic books celebrating America. These books are non-fiction books best suited for ages eight and up except for Ms. Sutton’s book which is a picture book geared for ages three to eight.
I Heart You, by Meg Fleming, and beautifully illustrated and in pencil and gouache by Sarah Jane Wright, is a special, simple book written in rhyming three word sentences about how a mother loves her daughter and animals loving their offspring. The rabbit looks over the meadow at her small bunny and says “I see you. / I miss you. I hug you. / I kiss you.” The soft hues of color completely fill each page.
The Valentine Bears, by Eve Bunting, and perfectly illustrated by Jan Brett (both are favorites of mine), was published in 1983 but this sweet book still showcases the beautiful story and art work. Mrs. Bear has woken up from her deep sleep to give Mr. Bear a valentine surprise. But she is in for a surprise also. This story begs to be read out loud as there are some hilarious items both bears are about to give each other. But one thing is most evident: their deep love for each other.
Lucky Lazlo, by Steve Light, with Light’s intricate and detailed trademark pen and ink pictures, shows an adventure behind the scenes of a play. Laslo is in love and brings a rose to give to his lady love who is starring in “Alice in Wonderland”. But his plan goes askew when a rascally cat takes the rose and runs across the stage and creates havoc. Youngsters will enjoy this delightful escape and will also learn a little about the theater.
Plenty of Love to Go Around, by Emma Chickester Clark, has some good lessons to be learned by Plum, the large terrier-looking dog. When a mischievous cat moves in next door and receives much attention, Plum is jealous and angry. But she soon learns to accept this new friend and get along. The watercolor illustrations of Plum perfectly show her exasperated expressions.
What Do You Love about You?, by Karen Lechelt, is a nice change of direction: a reflection of the positive things that one likes about themselves. Pastel colors fill every page softening the story as you read about the giraffe that loves his long neck and the white whale that loves his spout “because singing in the rain makes me happy.” What does this girl love about herself? You’ll have to read it to find out.
Fairy Tale Matchmaker: The Truest Heart, by E. D. Baker, is the fourth book in a magical and cheerful series. Cory has proven that she has special abilities to match up famous fairy tale characters to their true loves. Now she has one special thing in mind for Mary Lambkin. But Cory has some challenges to overcome. The Fairy Guild has designated her to be a tooth fairy. Baker knows how to weave a tale and keep the reader captivated throughout.
I Love You Americanly, by Lynn Parrish Sutton, and brightly painted by Melanie Hope Greenberg, takes you through the USA in a rhyming text from sea to shining sea. The repetitious “I love you” is found at the beginning of every sentence. “I love your capitals like Washington, D.C. / I love you tremendously like a redwood tree.” There is much to love and learn here.
A Kids’ Guide to: America’s First Ladies, by Kathleen Krull, is full of informative and interesting information that kids ages nine and up will enjoy learning about. For instance, what made the Patriots connect with Martha Washington or what were the causes that made Eleanor Roosevelt establish a lasting legacy? This award winning author knows how to captivate and enlighten the reader.
Presidents of the United States, by the editors of Time For Kids, showcases all of the U. S. presidents including the newest, the 45th: President Trump. It begins with an overview of the beginnings of the country as well as the struggles and wars. There’s a timeline and colored picture of each president, as well as interesting facts of each. For instance, James Monroe was the first president not to wear a wig.
White House Winners: What you Don’t Know About the Presidents, by J. A. Tracosas, and illustrated by Josh Lynch, is a lively book with large painted illustrations of each of the presidents. It also brings out an interesting, unusual and sometimes funny fact about each. For example, Andrew Jackson was a practical joker and moved the outhouses to another location in the Whitehouse so no one could find them.
What’s the Big Deal About First Ladies, by Ruby Shamir, and illustrated with pencil sketches and watercolor by Matt Faulkner, has several First Ladies highlighted along with interesting facts and humorous sidelines. This picture book displays how the role of the First Lady has evolved throughout time. Interesting trivia is found throughout. For instance, Lucy Hayes would only serve lemonade in the White House and not allow alcohol.
The Crossing: How George Washington Saved the American Revolution, by John Murphy, informs the reader about how the early battles in New York and New Jersey helped make Washington a tremendous strategist and military commander. The events leading up to the battles of Princeton and Trenton are so gripping that you begin to see how the troops viewed their general and of the respect and honor felt by all. This book, full of pictures that go right along with the story, is so well written, that you begin to feel like you are there and are part of all that is unfolding before you. Murphy is one of the best historians for kids!