It’s February, which means Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. For me, nothing says, “I love you” like a good book. Below are some great options that will appeal to readers of all ages. The following books are ordered by suggested age range.
WHO LOVES ME? by David McPhail, Harry N. Abrams; Brdbk edition, Dec. 5, 2017, Boardbook $8.95 (ages 2 and up)
Walter and Mama are gathering blueberries for a pie, and Walter is very excited. He loves pie, but he wonders, “Who loves me?” Mama tells Walter how much Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa love him. She tells him about how much his aunts and friends and pets love him, too. By the time the pie is ready, Walter has a long list of loved ones, but someone’s missing. Who? Mama! My daughter loves these charming little raccoons, and has fun playing along with the guessing game. Who Loves Me? Is a simple book, but one little readers will enjoy reading over and over again.
100 THINGS I LOVE TO DO WITH YOU, by Amy Schwartz, Harry N. Abrams, Dec. 5, 2017, Hardcover, $16.95 (ages 3-5)
From making faces and running races to snapping beans and wearing jeans, this is a collection of things to do with the one you love. 100 Things I Love to Do With You reminds me of my childhood. The illustrations are reminiscent of a 1970s book long out of print that belonged to my older sister. I don’t even remember the title, but I do remember the feeling it evoked. I get the same felling when reading Amy Schwartz’s book. This universal look at how even the simplest of things evoke a feeling of familiarity and love.
Lovey Bunny, by Kristine A. Lombardi, Abrams Books for Young Readers, March 3, 2015, Boardbook, $7.95 (ages 3-7)
Lovey Bunny loves just about everything — her family, art, watching her mama make things, and especially playing dress-up. But when she takes Mama’s new dress for a spin without asking Lovey Bunny ruins it. Lovey Bunny must think fast to make things right with Mama. This is a cute boardbook that celebrates love, creativity and offers a gentle reminder about asking permission. This most likely will appeal to girls and fashion-minded boys. The suggested age range is 3-7, but I would start younger. My almost-4-year-old has almost outgrown it, and I can’t imagine a 6- or 7-year-old being interested unless they were reading it to a younger sibling/cousin/friend.
THE LITTLEST VALENTINE, by Brandi Dougherty and Michelle Todd, Cartwheel Books, Nov. 28, 2017, Softcover, $3.99 (ages 3-5)
Emma may be the littlest in the Valentine family, but she knows that she has what it takes to help the family business get ready for the holiday. The problem is Emma is just a little bit too little to do just about anything. But, as Daniel Tiger likes to say, “everyone is big enough to do something.” When Emma discovers a dirty little puppy on the street, she realizes she’s uniquely suited for helping him. This sweet little story has everything a preschooler/kindergartner could want — valentines, cookies, puppies and lots of love. This is already a favorite in our house.
THE WORD COLLECTOR, by Peter H. Reynolds, Orchard Books, Jan. 30, 2018, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 4-8)
Some people collect stamps, other collect coins, or comic books, or rocks, or baseball cards. Jerome is different. He collects words. Words he hears, sees and sees. Some words are short and sweet words. Others are two-syllable treats. And multisyllable words that sound like little songs. Jerome doesn’t understand all the words at first, but he loves to say them. Then one day, Jerome discovers that connecting those words together might just be the most powerful thing of all. We’re big fans of Peter H. Reynolds’ Happy Dreamer so I was very excited to receive The Word Collector, and I think I love this one even more. Words and illustrations are paired in perfect harmony. This is a great book to share with word lovers of every age.
I LOVE YOU: A POP-UP BOOK, by David A. Carter, Abrams Books for Young Readers, Dec. 5, 2017, Hardcover, $14.95 (ages 5 and up)
David A. Carter’s I Love You: A Pop-Up Book is a book-art hybrid that’s a feast for the eyes. I Love You: A Pop-Up Book features seven spreads, each with a verse (“You are a burst of joy and … I love you.”) and a pop-up of different geometrical and abstract forms. Scattered hearts are the unifying element that may not seem obvious at first but offer a fun sort of scavenger hunt throughout. This is a cool book that may not stand up to the littlest hands but will be enjoyed by loved ones young and old.
HOW TO SAY I LOVE YOU IN 5 LANGUAGES, by Kenard Pak, Wide Eyed Editions; Ill edition, Feb. 14, 2018, Boardbook, $12.99 (ages 5-6)
Learn to say, “I love you” in French, Japanese, Mandarin, English and Spanish with this press and listen board book. Each spread features a child who loves something different George in England loves his dog and Jia in China loves her brother. Buttons on the side of the book allow children to listen to the phrase in each language. This interactive book is a lovely introduction to different languages. The idea that love is the same all over the world is a nice touch. “I love you” is written out on each page, which is helpful because some of the recordings are a little difficult to understand. I also appreciate the “on/off” button on the back that saves battery life. Strangely, this book doesn’t come out until Valentine’s Day itself so plan ahead if this is one you want to give.