Posts Tagged ‘love’
Posted in fiction, picture books, wordless books, tagged book reviews, children's literature, families, grandmothers, love, parents and children, picture books, Valentine's Day on February 13, 2017| Leave a Comment »
Five friendly stories to go with your chocolate hearts…
Love 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!
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, 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.
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?: 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, so 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.
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.
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, 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.
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.
Posted in early readers, fiction, picture books, tagged book reviews, children's literature, kindness, love, neighborliness, Valentine's Day, vintage children's books on February 9, 2015| Leave a Comment »
There are plenty of Valentine’s Day cynics out there, but I for one love this holiday — a day to shower some extra love on people we hold dear and spread some love in corners where it’s a bit thin.
I’ve got five sweet titles today, several more sprinkled into the upcoming week, and a bunch in the Subject Index, too, all just right for snuggling up and enjoying with someone you love!
Hug Machine, written and illustrated by Scott Campbell
published in 2014 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
This boy is super-terrifically-good at hugging!
Mom and Dad, the policeman and the lady at the bus stop, even trees and a happy little turtle — everyone and everything in this fella’s path gets his giant hug treatment!
If you are a prickly porcupine and no one hugs you because of those quills — have no fear! The Hug Machine will not be stopped!
If you are a Blue Whale and others are intimidated by your size — do not worry! The Hug Machine has got you covered.
Careen around with this energetic hugger and feel the sunshine! It’s a sublimely happy tale featuring bold, naive watercolors, childlike hand-lettering, and plenty of throbbing pink and red to blast us with all that lovin’.
Share it with kids ages 18 months and up and prepare to be hugged!!
Love can be quiet as two friends sharing a story.
It can be loud as a tin trumpet!
It searches for a lost teddy until it’s found.
Sarah Massini’s minimal, rhyming text proclaims the sweetness of friendship and love — indoors and out, summer and winter, always and everywhere.
Her charming illustrations tiptoe and twirl and tickle and hug irresistibly. Super sweet read for little persons even under-One.
The silly “Fox” stories by James Marshall (Edward is just a pen name) are dynamite early readers, full of the goofy humor Marshall is known for.
He is simply goo-goo-brained over a lovely gal named Raisin. But his penchant for showing off and his line-up of Really Bad Ideas cause him a heap of trouble. Good thing his little sister Louise is such a good sport!
Funny stories, illustrated with Marshall’s brilliant drawings that exude personality and comicalness. Most early readers aren’t this funny. My kids loved ’em. Ages 5 and up.
Standing on a rocky ledge, the massive Andes Mountains wrinkling into the distance, a Peruvian mama tells her son she loves him to the heights where eagles soar.
Snorkeling around the Great Barrier Reef, an Australian mama tells her daughter she loves her “to the crannies of the corals …on the ocean floor.”
How far do you love one another? It’s a game author Lulu Delacre used to play with her children. And none of this “love you to the moon” business. These landscapes inspire more ingenuous responses!
Travel to a dozen magnificent locations around the world, including all seven continents, to imagine how far love can stretch. Beautiful paintings whisk us into the settings, and a galaxy of languages ask “How far do you love me?” at the book’s end. Ages 3 and up.
“The first time I saw my new neighbor, she was waving good-bye to her moving van.“
Have you been there? Shyly peeking out the window at someone new? Observing from across the room? Trying not to let the new girl notice you stealing glances at her?
The girl in this story wants to reach out to her new neighbor. Her instinct is to be friendly. But…it’s a hard business. A bit qualmish. So, she stalls.
Takes a little freshening-up bath.
Changes her kerchief.
She’s just got up her gumption and is heading out the door when an idea occurs. “I ought to bring her a pie!“
It’s much more comfy mixing, rolling, sprinkling in your own kitchen than going out to Meet New Persons. Finally she’s finished. Her neighbor greets her and her pie warmly and invites her in. But — all that cooking wears a body out and it seems she falls quite asleep in her neighbor’s house!
M.B. Goffstein has written a delightful story of two shy neighbors edging their way towards one another and friendship. I love the honesty and universality encompassed in her brief text.
Additionally, we have her cool illustrations — minimalist line drawings which miraculously invite us into the pages. In this era of sumptuous color and complex line and mixed media layers in our children’s books, Goffstein’s bare-bones line acts like a whisper in a crowded room — it hushes us and rivets us our attention.
I’ve refrained from using the word “simple” in my review as what strikes the eye and ear as simple is achieved through incredibly hard work. But that is the feel of this quiet story.
A lovely read for ages 4 and up.
Now go and bake your neighbor a Valentine’s Pie!
Valentine’s Day is coming! Time to break out the chocolates and candy hearts, construction paper and doilies, and tell folks we love ’em!
One way to celebrate is by joining in International Book Giving Day on February 14, which you can read about here. It’s quite simple — give some book love away; and quite powerful — stories shape us.
Looking for some sweet treats in the way of books? Try…
Little Treasures: Endearments from Around the World, words by Jacqueline K. Ogburn, pictures by Chris Raschka
published in 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Dumpling? Snickerdoodle? Little pumpkin? What terms of endearment do you use with your children?
We were partial to “little potato” from a brilliant piece we heard on Minnesota Public Radio years ago. I wish I could imbed it, but you can give it a listen here. Truly awesome lullaby!
around the world, folks invent all kinds of sweet talk, from “poppet” to “lambchop” to “little mischievous pea!” Visit 17 different countries with fourteen languages to learn some of these charming, affectionate nicknames. Chris Raschka’s illustrations wobble and radiate cheer across all the jolly pages.
An interesting Author’s Note tells us a bit more about the use of endearments in other cultures and the challenge of compiling this list. Love this book!
All Kinds of Kisses, written and illustrated by Nancy Tafuri
published in 2012 by Little, Brown and Company
Nancy Tafuri has been producing some of the best toddler books for decades now, so if you see her name on it, you know it’s gold.
This pleasingly-large book is quintessential Tafuri, with just a few words narrating the glorious, full-page, illustrations. Burst-of-summer greens and tomato reds, sunny yellows and robin’s egg blues wash through her close-up, gentle compositions. Masterful.
Meander around the barnyard to see all the wee ones enjoying their mamas’ kisses — little chick, calf, dove, lamb, pup and more, happily soaking up the love. The best kiss of all is saved for last. Can you guess who’s getting it?
Sheer bliss for the very youngest bookworms.
I Like You, by Sandol Stoddard Warburg, illustrated by Jacqueline Chwast
originally published in 1965;
currently published by Houghton Mifflin Company
Vintage sweetness here, with the same fetching feel as the Ruth Krauss-Maurice Sendak collaboration A Hole is to Dig.
There are such a lot of good reasons for liking a dear friend:
They remember important things we tell them.
Laugh at our jokes.
Give us time to be sad and quiet when that’s just what we need.
Like us back.
You’ll enjoy this collection of small, insightful, childish thoughts about what makes a person settle in our hearts, and you’ll adore the sketchy ink drawings by Chwast. Sized for small hands, share it with preschoolers and up, or tuck it into an i-love-you package for any size of sweetheart.
Violet and Winston, by Sonya Sones and Bennett Tramer, pictures by Chris Raschka
published in 2009 by Dial Books for Young Readers
Valentine’s is a good day to celebrate friendships. Here are three episodes of two enthusiastic, through-thick-and-thin pals, Violet the swan and Winston the duck.
On a picnic, the oblivious Winston drives Violet a bit batty; at the café, Winston’s glasses go missing; and at a garage sale, sentimental Violet confounds Winston’s money-making scheme. These exuberant stories have clever plots, a big scoop of silliness, endearing moments, and a sweet finale.
Who better to illustrate them than Chris Raschka with his joyful, swishy, playful lines and colors bringing the personalities and predicaments to life. Great fun for ages 4 and up.
This last title has the heartbeat of An Affair to Remember. You know the film where Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr just miss one another at a critical moment?
Herman Schubert (a crocodile) and Rosie Bloom (a deer) live in their own worlds, all alone, in New York City.
They are such interesting folk. Herman likes potted plants and films about the ocean. Rosie likes pancakes and jazz. They both love the city, and they both love music. In fact, playing the oboe and singing are two of the ways Herman and Rosie keep themselves happy in their somewhat-lonely lives.
When the kibosh gets put to their music-making, they are despondent. It takes time and patience, a sunny walk in the park, a few near misses, and a rebirth of music, before fate happily brings the two together. Oh how nice.
It’s a quirky, charming tale with an unabashedly happy ending. Gordon’s mixed media collages exude personality, New York-ness, the ethos of an old black-and-white film, and lovability. Give this a whirl for ages 5 and up.
You can find more Valentine’s Day titles by searching in the Subject Index. I hope you find time to make someone happy this week!
roses are red, violets are blue…a list of five tales of love definitely not just for Valentine’s Day
Posted in fiction, picture books, poetry, tagged babies, grandparents, jewel (singer), love, music for toddlers, only you, parenthood, pierre in love, she loves me she loves me not, sleepover at gramma's house, that's what i'd do, Valentine's Day on February 4, 2013| Leave a Comment »
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.
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 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.
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!
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 she 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!
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.
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.
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 imaginative, 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
She Loves Me…She Loves Me Not…