Each children's book for Valentine's Day is worth buying because it can be enjoyed again and again. These Valentine's books are good read-alouds, provide positive reinforcement for sharing and being kind to one another and have engaging illustrations that complement the text. Here's a quick look at each of them.
1. Guess How Much I Love You: The Pop-Up Edition
The pop-up edition of Guess How Much I Love You
, the popular picture book by Sam McBratney, with its captivating illustrations by Anita Jeram, is perfect for Valentine's Day. This story of the love between parent and child has become a classic since it was first published more than a decade ago and the pop-up edition is a delight. It would make a good Valentine's Day gift for both children and adults. Candlewick Press published the pop-up edition in 2011. The ISBN is 9780763653781. Read my review of Guess How Much I Love You: The Pop-Up Edition
2. Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch
Simon & Schuster
Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch
, by Eileen Spinelli, is a modest picture book with a terrific message about loving kindness and caring for others. Even very young children will relate to Mr. Hatch and how thrilled he is to receive a mysterious Valentine's Day treat (Who sent it?) and how it changes his behavior, making him much more outgoing and friendly. They will also feel sad with him when he finds out the gift was not really meant for him. Best of all, they will rejoice at the ending. I recommend the book for ages 4-8. Read my review of Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch
3. Snowy Valentine
is a sweet story and a good picture book for ages 3-6. Jasper Bunny loves his wife Lilly so much that he wants to get her a very special Valentine's Day gift. The problem is that he doesn't know what to get her. In search of ideas, he leaves their home and, despite the snow and cold, walks down to the neighboring valley to get ideas from some of their animal neighbors. After a discouraging afternoon, Jasper is startled to learn that he has, without even knowing it, created the perfect gift for Lilly. Snowy Valentine
is the first picture book by author and illustrator David Petersen. Read my review of Snowy Valentine
4. The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart
Little, Brown and Company
The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart
is one of a series of picture books by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton, with illustrations by Christine Davenier. The main character,
Gerry, is a little girl who likes to dress up like a fairy princess. This story is about Valentine's Day. After all of the fun of making very fancy Valentine's Day cards for her classmates, Gerry leaves them at home. What happens when Gerry finds out and how she still provides Valentines for each of her classmates makes for a very positive and satisfying story.
I recommend this picture book for ages 4 to 8.
To learn more, read my review of The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart.
5. Love, Splat
Splat, the lovable fluffy black cat with the skinny legs, is back. Splat was first introduced in Rob Scotten's picture book Splat the Cat. In Love, Splat, Splat has a crush on a Kitten, a pretty fluffy white kitten who is in his class. He makes her a Valentine despite the fact that every time she saw him, Kitten "pulled his ears and poked his belly, tied his tail and called him smelly." Shyness, insecurity, and a rival confront Splat, but he conquers them all and finds out, to his delight, the real reason Kitten keeps bothering him. Throughout his adventures, Splat is accompanied by his mouse friend Seymour. This is a funny, yet sweet, Valentine's Day story, one I recommend for 3- to 8-year-olds. (HarperCollins, 2008. ISBN: 9780060831578)
6. You're Lovable to Me
With a rhythmic text and whimsical illustrations, You're Lovable to Me celebrates the love between parent and child that transcends behavior and time and enables a mother rabbit to tell each of her six bunnies that, no matter what, "You're lovable to me." Later, she hears the same words from her own father who stresses that even though she is an adult, "When a papa loves a bunny, that's the way it will always be." Kit Weh's gentle story and Sue Anderson's lively ink and colored pencil illustrations in soft and strong pastels reflect a "big day" and "hard night" in a houseful of love. I recommend You're Lovable to Me for ages 2-5. (Random House, 2009. ISBN: 9780375860157)
7. Queen of HeartsHere's another in Mary Engelbreit's beautifully illustrated series of Ann Estelle picture books. Ann Estelle loves to make things. She spends hours and hours creating an extravagantly decorated Valentine's Day box to hold the cards she'll receive from her classmates. She focuses so much on the box that she forgets to make Valentine's Day cards to give to her classmates. How creative thinking by Ann Estelle saves the day makes an entertaining story. (HarperCollins, 2005, PB 2008. ISBN: 9780060081836)
8. Too Many ValentinesThis Level 1, Ready-To-Read book is part of the Robin Hill School series. It was written by Margaret McNamara and illustrated by Mike Gordon. The story centers on class preparations for Valentine's Day and one little boy, Neil, who says, "I get too many Valentines. I do not want any more." How the class honors his feelings and still includes him in the celebration makes an entertaining story. (Simon & Schuster, Aladdin Paperbacks, 2003. ISBN: 9780689855375)
9. Nate the Great and the Mushy ValentineThis children's Valentine's Day book is from the Nate the Great detective series for beginning readers by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat. Nate the Great starts out with one case, finding out who gave his dog a Valentine, and then, his friend Annie asks him to help her find a missing Valentine. This entertaining story, with lots of illustrations by Marc Simont, is both a good read-aloud for 4-8 year olds and a good book for beginning readers, grades 2-3. (Yearling, 1995. ISBN: 9780440410133)
10. Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really StinkThis amusing picture book was written and illustrated by Diane de Groat. While I am not a big fan of books in which children are portrayed by a group of animals, I am willing to make an exception for a story like this one that deals with kindness and teasing. Teasing and hurt feelings are common among elementary school children. The author does a nice job of showing the consequences of both unkindness and kindness when exchanging Valentine's Day cards. (HarperCollins, 1996. ISBN: 9780688152208)
If you have younger children, you'll want to click on the link above.