friends are for loving…five for Valentine’s Day

Five friendly stories to go with your chocolate hearts…

love monster and the last chocolate cover imageLove Monster and the Last Chocolate, written and illustrated by Rachel Bright
originally published in the UK; first American edition 2015 by Farrar, Straus, Giroux

Love Monster has a dilemma which you can perhaps relate to.

He’s just arrived home from a lovely vacation only to discover a large box of chocolates awaiting him on his doorstep. Before he can even open it, his chocolate-fanatic-brain goes zinging into serious overload! Just imagine all those delectable treats nesting inside!

love monster and the last chocolate interior rachel bright

Here’s the dilemma: He knows he should share with his friends, but what if there’s not enough and he misses out? Or, what if someone takes the very best one before he can nab it? Oh dear! What’s a Love Monster to do?!

This is a serious Hair-Twirling, Nail-Biting Ethical Tight Spot, don’t you agree? Ride along with Love Monster on his rocky journey in this sunny, friendly, funny, and heartwarming book. A winner for ages 2 and up.

here comes valentine cat cover imageHere Comes Valentine Cat, by Deborah Underwood, pictures by Claudia Rueda
published in 2016 by Dial Books for Young Readers

Cat is back and this time he’s feeling quite peevish about Valentine’s Day. He is not a fan. Mooshy-gooshy-yuk.

To make matters worse, Cat’s new neighbor is a dog, a horrible, mean dog. At least, Cat hasn’t exactly met him, but all signs point to it.

here comes valentine cat interior deborah underwood and claudia rueda

Rather than extend an olive branch at Valentine’s Day, Cat plans to teach that Dog a lesson. Until something quite surprising happens that puts everything in a new light.

Headstrong, lovable Cat is an eminently-relatable character, and Rueda’s a genius at creating his vivid personality with just the twitch of an eyebrow. Great choice for ages 2 and up.

who will comfort toffle cover imageWho Will Comfort Toffle?: A Tale of Moomin Valley, written and illustrated by Tove Jansson; English translation by Sophie Hannah
originally published in Finland, 1960; this edition 2010 by Enfant/Drawn & Quarterly

If you don’t know the Moomins, you can read a bit about them and their escapades here.

This book is one of the cartoon picture books Jansson created about these marvelous creatures and it stars Toffle, a mop-haired, extremely shy-and-retiring fellow.

Toffle has come to realize that his lonely, sad life needs some change, swho will comfort toffle illustration tove janssono he bravely sets out to take a look at the world around him. Along the way, he runs across lots of merry groups — whompses and fillyjonks, Hemulen and Snufkin, folks dancing and making daisy chains, fluting and feasting on pancakes. But he is so reserved and forgettable, it’s like he is invisible to them all.

Who will comfort Toffle?

Spoiler Alert: This book has a happy ending. Dive into the fanstastical world of Moomin Valley to meet all these fab friends and discover Toffles sweet solution. Ages 5 and up.

i love you already cover imageI Love You Already, by Jory John, illustrated by Benji Davies
published in 2016 by Harper

Bear and Duck are here again. (We saw them first in Goodnight Already.) Bear is just as content as ever to shuffle about his home in peace, lounge in his nightshirt while reading and sipping tea. Ahhhh.

And Duck is just as determined to Do Fun Things Non-Stop with his great pal, Bear.

i love you already illustration benji davies

The more Bear resists, the more Duck becomes a little worried. Maybe Bear doesn’t like him? How awful would that be?!

After a dayful of botheration, pandemonium, and a near-concussion, Duck hears the reassuring words he’s been waiting for. Goofy fun. Sparkling personalities. Bold, neon-bright illustrations. Great fun for ages 2 and up.

Hedgehugs cover imageHedgehugs, by Steve Wilson and Lucy Tapper
published in the UK in 2014; first American edition 2015 by Henry Holt and Company

Finally this prickly tale of Horace and Hattie, two hedgehogs who are the very best of friends, but who find a friendly hug to be a most pointedly tricky affair.

Hedgehugs interior Steve Wilson and Lucy Tapper

All year long, these two come up with hopeful solutions to their spiky situation. But, alas! Nothing works. Until one day, the solution literally blows their way on an opportune breeze.

Find out what it is, and solve another mystery that regularly occurs around your household, all in one swoop! Charming and cute for ages Under-Two and up.