Stuff We Like: New Kids’ Books for Valentine’s Day
With Valentine’s Day coming up next week, take the opportunity to cuddle up with your lovebug and one of these new children’s books that celebrate love in all its forms — whether it’s the love between best friends, unrequited love, or even zombie love .
When you’re an adorable bald baby, your family finds lots of ways to show you how much they love you: Mommy lifts you up, Daddy kisses you on the tummy, and everyone wants to snuggle. With comedy and warmth, Leslie Patricelli offers a universal tribute to love and affection in Huggy Kissy ($6.99) a board book about love for little valentines everywhere. Recommended for ages 1-3.
A giraffe kiss is very tall, elephant kisses are long, of course, while tiny mice and bubbly fish have kisses all their own, as kids will learn in A Kiss Like This ($12.99). Using a clever split-page format that makes for charming surprises, author-illustrator Mary Murphy shares a series of animal kisses that are sure to have babies and toddlers gurgling, giggling, smiling, and leaning over for their kisses, too. Recommended for ages 2-4.
“Love Waves” are what we send to our loved ones until we can be together again. Invisible and strong, they can fly across town or around the world, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that neither time nor space can keep love from finding its target. This gentle tale by Rosemary Wells (creator of the Max and Ruby series) offers comfort to young children who miss a loved one, whether it’s a parent who works during the day or a relative who lives far away. Recommended for ages 3-7.
Lancelot the ocelot, Lena the hyena, and Juana the Iguana are just a few of the many colorful characters you’ll meet in Beast Friends Forever ($19.95) a new book of whimsical poems by Robert Forbes, children’s author and vice president of Forbes. The book is the third title in Forbes’ acclaimed “beastly” series. It features 80 pages of playful poems about amorous animals, some rascally, some sweet. It’s also one of the last published works from late master illustrator Ronald Searle, who provided 33 original drawings for the book, continuing a collaboration that also includes Forbes’ earlier “beast” books: Beastly Feasts and Let’s Have A Bite (find more info on those books at robertlforbes.com/books). Recommended for ages 5 and older.
When an otter falls in love with a fish, can he dare to follow his heart? Otter and Odder: A Love Story ($14), by James Howe with illustrations by Chris Raschka, is a delicious ode to nonconformity and an allegory for relationships that fall outside the mainstream. Recommended for ages 6-10.
Alfonso loves the brilliant, beautiful Ida, but she just doesn’t seem to notice. Can he win her heart with a cake of his own creation if the salt is gathered from the deep blue ocean, the butter from the summer sun, and the flour from snowflakes in a night sky? Apple Cake: A Recipe for Love ($16.99) by Julie Paschkis is a charmingly illustrated story about imagination for children that comes complete with a treasured family recipe for apple cake. Recommended for ages 4 and older.
No doubt you’ve seen the trailers for the film based on this novel ($15) starring a zombie boy who meets a living human girl and struggles not to eat her due to his newly awakened human emotions. The motion picture version was released Feb. 1, and the original text version by Isaac Marion was released in paperback in December, complete with a new cover featuring the film’s star-crossed pair.
Seventeen-year-old Sadie is in love: epic, heartfelt, and utterly one-sided. The object of her obsession — ahem, affection — is her best friend, Garrett Delaney, who is oblivious to Sadie’s feelings. When Garrett leaves for a summer literary retreat, Sadie is sure that the absence will make his heart grow fonder — until he calls to say he’s fallen in love. With some other girl! Getting Over Garrett Delaney ($7.99), by Abby McDonald, follows Sadie through a summer of personal reinvention that’s full of laughter, mortifying meltdowns, and a double shot of love. Recommended for ages 14 and older.
From Sarah Ockler, author of Twenty Boy Summer, comes the story of 17-year-old Hudson, who’s world is turned upside down when her parents get a divorce. In Bittersweet, Hudson struggles to deal with her new reality and the new responsibilities that come with it, including taking care of her younger brother and baking in her mother’s diner (Bonus: Look out for cupcake recipes at the beginning of each chapter!). When a new guy walks into her life, Hudson has to ask herself what she really wants and how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. Recommended for ages 14 and older.