Valentine’s Day is on its way, and there’s still time to share your love through the form of a book. Below are recently released picture books that help celebrate love. Books are listed by suggested age, youngest to oldest. Synopses are in blue and provided by publishers.
I LOVE YOU: A TOUCH-AND-FEEL PLAYBOOK (BABY TOUCH), by Ladybird and Lemon Ribbon Studio, Ladybird, Dec. 27, 2022, Hardcover, $12.99 (ages 0-2)
Say “I Love You” to different animals and objects in this installment of the Baby Touch series. Touch and feel all kinds of loving animals and objects. From soft lions to shiny mermaids, this immersive board book is filled with heart-shaped holes to look through, bold illustrations, and interactive moments that celebrate family and friendship. —Synopsis provided by Ladybird
This cute board book introduces vocabulary and the general concept of love through basic pictures, text and texture.
AGES 2 & UP
CONSTRUCTION SITE: YOU’RE JUST RIGHT: A VALENTINE LIFT-THE-FLAP BOOK, by Sherri Duskey Rinker and AG Ford, Chronicle Books, Dec. 20, 2022, Hardcover, $12.99 (ages 2-4)
Celebrate Valentine’s Day with the construction crew from the bestselling Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site series! It’s Valentine’s Day at the construction site, and every truck finds a special note just for them — but who is the mystery writer? Lift the flaps to reveal sweet and silly messages and celebrate the kindness of true friends. —Synopsis provided by Chronicle Books
This lift-the-flap addition to the Construction Site series is lots of fun. Rhyming text paired with loveable construction equipment make this the perfect choice for kids who love all things building.
AGES 3 & UP
THE VERY BEST HUG, by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and Alison Brown, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, Jan. 24, 2023, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 3-5)
Have you ever wondered who gives the very BEST hug?
The kind that’s warm and cozy and snug?
Extra squeezy, but never too tight,
the kind that fits you COMPLETELY right?
From bear hugs to koala cuddles, hippo huddles to walrus wiggles, penguin pecks to porcupine prickles, there are a LOT of hugs to choose from. But the perfect hug may not be far-in fact, it might be right where you are! Who gives the best hugs? Have you guessed? It’s the ones at home, who love you the best! —Synopsis provided by Bloomsbury Children’s Books
This giggle-inducing read is great fun from beginning to end. Rhythmic text makes this the perfect read-aloud, and hilarious illustrations will get everyone and thing (think stuffies) involved. This one’s a joy.
LITTLE OWL’S LOVE, by Divya Srinivasan, Viking Books for Young Readers, Dec. 6, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 3-5)
The star of Little Owl’s Night returns to find love in his beloved nighttime forest.
“What do I love?” Little Owl thought.
There were so many things. . .
Gliding along on a quiet night, Little Owl looks for the things that make him happy — shimmering stars, winking fireflies, listening to the cricket song, and most of all, spending time with his good friends. —Synopsis provided by Viking Books for Young Readers
There’s a reason Little Owl has become a favorite among children. Divya Srinivasan’s sweet character is curious and charming, and her text is gentle and heartfelt. This book is no different. This ode to the natural world will resonate with kids and parents alike.
THE MYSTERY OF THE LOVE LIST, by Sarah Glenn Marsh and Ishaa Lobo, Viking Books for Young Readers, Dec. 13, 2022, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 3-7)
Pippa’s teacher tells her students to make a love list — a list of all the things that take up room in their hearts. Pippa makes her list, but when she finds someone else’s and sees that her own name has been written down, along with all of her favorite things, she discovers she has a secret admirer! Maybe the best friend she’s always hoped for is right in her classroom, if only she can crack the case. Good thing there’s nothing Pippa loves more than a good detective story. Will she solve the mystery of the love list and find a new friend? —Synopsis provided by Viking Books for Young Readers
This sweet mystery is one that little readers can enjoy following along with or trying to solve themselves. Charming illustrations and a gentle message make this a great option for introducing Valentine’s Day in a positive way to young readers.
HEART STRING, by Brooke Boynton-Hughes, Chronicle Books, Dec. 20, 2022, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 3-5)
“Through backyards and neighborhoods, over mountains, and across oceans, this colorful heart string ties us all together. Out of sight yet undeniable, it joins our hearts so that we are never truly alone.”
Follow the thread of this reassuring story to see how, even in a world as vast as ours, there is always a bond that connects us to the ones we love — and to the world we share. —Synopsis provided by Chronicle Books
This gentle, heartwarming read reminds us that love is big, much bigger than one person. Sparse text paired with lovely illustrations remind us of our connection to others.
AGES 4 & UP
A GOOD DEED CAN GROW, by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman and Holly Hatam, Christy Ottaviano Books, Feb. 7, 2023, Hardcover, $18.99 (ages 4-8)
Discover the ripple effects of doing a good deed in this interactive picture book about the importance of kindness.
A good deed can grow like a seed. . . .
Join a loving community as they work to create a better world. Whether planting a garden or visiting a sick friend, picking up litter or playing music at the senior center, kind actions — no matter how big or small — can spread like a ripple, impacting the lives of others for the better. —Synopsis provided by Christy Ottaviano Books
A Good Deed Can Grow encourages expressing love and kindness through good deeds. Jennifer Chambliss Bertman’s warm text is paired with Holly Hatam’s expressive illustrations. This book highlights how small efforts can have big impacts, even when we feel overwhelmed.
COZY IN LOVE, by Jan Brett, G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, Nov. 8, 2022, Hardcover, $19.99 (ages 4-8)
This companion to Jan Brett’s Cozy shows that kindness and cleverness can capture a heart.
After losing a test of strength to another musk ox in his herd, Cozy is convinced he’ll never impress his crush, Lofti.
But while he’s sulking, he learns of a bigger concern. His friend Bella, a beluga whale, is still playing in an inlet even though it’s cold enough for ice to form and block her way out.
Cozy races to the inlet and, sure enough, Bella is in trouble. Luckily, Cozy thinks of a new way to use his strong legs and tough horns that might help save Bella and win Lofti’s heart as well. —Synopsis provided by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
If you’re a fan of Jan Brett, then this book is a no-brainer. Brett’s classic style is once again on display through her detailed illustrations and borders. This simple story will resonate with young readers and may spark interest in the animals — musk ox, beluga whale and puffin — that take center stage.
Copyright © 2023 Cracking the Cover. Unless otherwise noted, all books — digital and physical — have been provided by publishers in exchange for honest and unbiased reviews. All thoughts and opinions are those of the reviewer.