roses are red, violets are blue…a list of five tales of love definitely not just for Valentine’s Day

that's what i'd do cover imageThat’s What I’d Do, by Jewel, illustrated by Amy June Bates

If I owned the sky
tell you what I’d do.
Gather up the clouds and leave only the blue…

If I were a carpenter,
tell you what I’d do.
I’d build a boat to sail away with you…

Singer-songwriter Jewel has written this sweet love song for mothers and babies.  Just like Mrs. Runaway Bunny, the mother in this song can take practically any circumstance and figure out a way of turning it into an opportunity to love on her child.  If she were a rabbit, or the rain, a bird, or a mirror…no matter what form that momma morphs into, new and delightful ways emerge of pouring affection on her darling, and blissfully soaking up time together.

Jewel wrote the music and lyrics for this song, along with Patrick Davis, and a CD is included with the book.  It’s a sunny, soothing, lilting piece of music that definitely may entice you to try her whole album, The Merry Goes ‘Round.

that's what i'd do illustration amy june bates

Charming illustrations in watercolor, gouache, pencil and pastel by Amy June Bates are the cherry on top of this package.  Her pictures beam with happiness and mutual adoration.  They are playful, warm, imaginative glimpses of a momma utterly in love with her child, and a child  safe and secure in that love.  Very dear.

Great choice for new moms or any mom to share with the very littlest ones.

pierre in love cover imagePierre in Love, by Sara Pennypacker, pictures by Petra Mathers

Pierre is a fisherman.  He’s quite an ordinary guy, wears dungarees and an anorak, motors out to sea each day, heads back to harbor with his catch each night.  All quite run of the mill.  Except for his heart.  Pierre’s heart is utterly, hook-line-and-sinker, smitten with Catherine.

Catherine is a ballet teacher, and in Pierre’s mind, “an angel of grace and beauty.”  Each day as he passes her little studio, he grows more besotted with this lovely girl pierre in love illustration petra mathers 001of his dreams.

Finally, Pierre decides to take action.  Magnificently groomed and dressed in his finest, he sets off to present Catherine a sweet gift, a token of love.  Alas!  At the last minute, his courage vanishes.  For days and days, Pierre dreams of gallant encounters with Catherine, yet manages only to leave his treasures at her doorstep, anonymously.

Will Pierre ever muster the courage to declare his love to Catherine?  Can an entrancing ballet teacher love a common fisherman?  Ah, me, the path to love for these two is a tangled one, indeed!

Sara Pennypacker’s tiny drama of love is funny and charming.  Pierre is as lovesick as they come.  Catherine is hopelessly romantic.  Fling yourself into the melodramatic nature of their story as you read this aloud with kids, and they will giggle and roll their eyes, then smile widely at the happy ending.  Illustrated in watercolor by Petra Mathers, who wonderfully captures the angst in Pierre’s eyes, the snug charm in the oceanside village, the dash and flair in Pierre’s moments of bravado, and all of Catherine’s coy delight.  A quaint romance for those as-yet-too-young for Austen!

sleepover at gramma's house cover imageSleepover at Gramma’s House, by Barbara Joosse, illustrated by Jan Jutte

These two!

Gramma and granddaughter!

Oh, do they ever love each other!!

With a skippety-doo-dah, this lucky little girl is packing her bags for a marvelous treat!  A sleepover with her doting, darling, devoted grandmother.  She bids a brisk farewell to the folks at home and bebops off to Gramma’s place, where the fun begins immediately.

A lovely rumpus ensues — a dash of crazyness, a dollop of sweets, a swizzle of noise, a splash of mayhem.  Through it all runs a golden stream of the very best sort of love!  This little girl absolutely adores her gramma; and sleepover at gramma's house illustration jan jutteshe knows  that honey-dear of a gramma feels the same way about her.

How have I never seen this book before?!  It oozes with love, it percolates with joy!  The dancing, cartwheeling rhythms of the text wonderfully portray the happiness fluttering about in granddaughter’s heart; the endearing pet names and expressions unabashedly proclaim the fierce love they share.  This is a twosome who share a deep, sweet bond.

Jan Jutte perfectly interprets the text with his jaunty illustrations in ink, watercolor and acrylic.  The vivid colors and black line surge with energy, the expressions and postures of these two are jolly and confident and so at ease with one another,  the imaginative quirks and gallons of artwork in their worlds add bunches of exuberance and flair.

I can’t think of a more delightful book to share with a grandchild.  Gobble this one up!

only you cover imageOnly You, by Robin Cruise, illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine

Here’s another book plum full of babies who are loved from the tips of their pinky toes to the tops of their soft heads.

only you illustration margaret chodos-irvine 001

The text of this one walks through a day, poetically noting all the things these moms and dads love about their babies.  Her mouth and ears and eyes.  His voice and words and songs.  Very simple, and very reassuring.  Nice, brief amount of text for the youngest of listeners.

A huge part of what I love about this book is that Margaret Chodos-Irvine illustrates it with parent-child pairs from multiple ethnicities and uses a father-child pair for one-third of the book.  Her striking images are bold, with a beautiful simplicity in their composition, often encompassing mainly the two faces, or only the child.  Even so, she manages to reference both indoors and outside companionship, urban and rural locations.  A ton of thought on her part brings us a seemingly-effortless design that is perfect for sharing with wee ones.

This would make another great gift for new parents.

she loves me she loves me not cover imageShe Loves Me, She Loves Me Not, by Robert Keeshan, illustrated by Maurice Sendak

Vintage, disarming, charm alert!

This is the very short tale of a little boy who’s got a bouquet of four daisies.

As he walks along, he meets a little girl.  So, he gives her a daisy.

She plucks the petals off one by one, reciting the poem as she goes — he loves me, he loves me not — until she’s out of petals.  It turns out he loves her!

Excellent!  He does love her.  So, he gives her another daisy.  However, this one does not turn out so well.

The two of them seesaw back and forth a bit, with tears and adoring glances and smugness and petulance all taking a turn,  before the little girl comes up with a brilliant solution to the problem.

If you’re as old as me, you remember Bob Keeshan as Captain Kangaroo, the remarkable man who created such an she loves me she loves me not illustration maurice sendak 001imaginative, child-friendly, early television program.  Here he demonstrates his instinctive understanding of children, their logic and whimsy.  Such a teeny story, yet such a zesty plot and such a debonair conclusion.

It’s paired with illustrations by another genius, Maurice Sendak, whose familiar, trademark characters rivet our attention and convey an enormous amount of intelligence and spunk and personality and response.

First published in 1963, utterly charming in it’s diminutive 5×4″size, this will tickle the fancy of children ages 4 and up, and  their grown-ups, too.

Here are Amazon links for all these affectionate books, plus the Jewel CD:
That’s What I’d Do
The Merry Goes ‘Round
Pierre In Love (Golden Kite Awards)
Sleepover at Gramma’s House
Only You
She Loves Me…She Loves Me Not…