So now that I’ve inadvertently given you a book suggestion for your husband/wife/lover (see “The Pop-Up What?”), let’s turn instead to the kiddies. I find Valentine’s Day is the one time that I can say, “I’ve put up with your crap for nine years now, so you sit your butt down and listen to a story that expresses how much I love you, missy!” Feel free to paraphrase.
So, for a Valentine gift or reading-aloud time, here are my top “love” picture books, in order from youngest (lap babies) to oldest (I don’t know... 27).
FRIEND LOVE: Never Too Little To Love, by Jeanne Willis, is a sweet book about a mouse who wants to give a kiss to his (her) friend the giraffe. The book has sturdy pages for the littlest readers.
UNCONDITIONAL LOVE: No Matter What, by Debi Gliori. Small presents many situations in which Large may not love her/him, but love always wins out. Larger print and simple sentences also make this book good for a beginning reader.
MOMMY LOVE: Te Amo Bebe, Little One, by Lisa Wheeler, incorporates a Latin American feel in a story of a baby growing into a toddler. The refrain will run through your head for days, not necessarily unpleasantly.
DADDY LOVE: Papa, Do You Love Me? by Barbara Joosse, follows a Masaai father and son in the incredible landscape of Africa. Additional information about the culture is included at the end of the story.
SWEETIE LOVE: Porcupining: A Prickly Love Story, by Lisa Wheeler, is a funny story of a porcupine who can’t find somebody to love. Make up your own tune to his recurring and unintentionally insulting songs.
GAY PENGUIN LOVE: And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson, tells the story of two male penguins in the Central Park Zoo who find each other and raise an adopted egg. Based on a true story, and in my opinion, a great way to introduce children to the idea of different kinds of families.
Admit it you were just waiting to find out what the title “Gay Penguin Love” was all about, weren’t you?