This is not the usual random Read Aloud Thursday post. Instead, it’s a post in which I cover a lot of mushy territory–picture books to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I usually don’t fall in love with holiday books, Christmas books being the obvious exception. I think it’s because I tend to not make a huge deal out of most holidays (except for Christmas and Easter–I really try on those), and most holiday books seem stilted and overly planned in a “Look here! You’re reading a _____ book!” kind of way. This would likely explain why I’m just now, a mere four days before the holiday, getting a Valentine’s Day books post up at all. Sheesh.
Okay, that’s part of the disclaimer. Here’s the other half of it: I’m only featuring books here that I at least like a little bit, and that my children have reacted (mostly–Louise is a wildcard–what brings a smile one day brings a frown the next) positively to. (I’m sorry if this lets the air out of your Read Aloud Thursday balloon, but I must be honest.) Let’s get started.
I don’t even have to ask my children–I know which of the Valentine’s Day selections we have about the house is their favorite. Arthur’s Valentine by Marc Brown happens to be a book that we both own and that I checked out of the library (I really need to update my Library Thing account!), so we get to enjoy this book year-round. 😉 Our library copy actually has the old anteater-ish Arthur illustrations, which I like a lot better. But I digress. I think the appeal for my girls is the unknown–in this story, Arthur receives love notes from a Secret Admirer. My children are fairly sheltered in that they don’t watch much television, etc., but they do know about boyfriends and girlfriends (and that they’re something to giggle over) thanks to some friends in our homeschool group. 😉 Another plus for Arthur’s Valentine is that they learned the old chant “Arthur and Sue Ellen, sitting in a tree. . . ” Honestly, this is one book I would’ve preferred to put off for a few years, but it’s too late now. Consider yourself warned. 🙂
My favorite new selection this year is The Valentine Bears, which is written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Jan Brett. I tell you, you can’t go wrong with that combination! As Carrie pointed out in her Valentine’s Books for Kids post, the illustrations aren’t your typical Jan Brett style, but all in all I think they’re recognizable as hers. The story itself is unusual and heartwarming. It’s the story of a bear couple who do the unthinkable–they wake up out of their hibernation for Valentine’s Day. It’s all Mrs. Bear’s idea, and she goes to great lengths to make the day a special one for her husband. In the end, though, he has a few tricks up his sleeve, too. It’s a sweet book and one I’d be glad to add to our collection.
I’m going from memory on this book because I’ve already turned it back in to the library, but this is my favorite of all the Valentine’s Day books we’ve ever had. The girls like it, too. 🙂 I thought I’d already shared it here, but after a search of my blog, I realize that I haven’t. How did I let this one slip by last year? The Ballad of Valentine is so much fun! It’s a ballad about a couple of star-crossed lovers, and it’s modeled after the song “Clementine.” (I should say that it’s written to be sung to the tune of “Clementine,” but my girls reject all my attempts of singing books to them. I don’t know why. Does anyone else have this problem? 😉 ) The fellow in the story loves his Valentine, but due to various and sundry problems, he can never get word to her of his affections. Of course, all is made right in the end. Alison Jackson did a great job with this one, and as you can see from the cover, Tricia Tusa’s illustrations are whimsical and fun. I give this one a Highly Recommended!
What about your family? Are you enjoying some Valentine’s Day reads this week in February, or are you longing for springtime? Whatever you’re reading together, please link up your blog post below, or share about them in the comments!
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Have a terrific Read Aloud Thursday and a happy Valentine’s Day!