Thursday, January 30, 2014

Valentine Books

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Where did January go? These holidays keep sneaking up on me. Maybe that's just what life is like when you have a busy three year old running around. I love finding holiday themed books to read to Charlotte. This age is a bit tricky because books are either too simple or just too long. A few of these we read last year, but we also added some really wonderful books to our list this year. Grab some chocolate and see what has been on our reading list this month!

The Night Before Valentine's Day by Natasha Wing
We are huge fans of all the books in this series by Natasha Wing. She does such a great job of changing the famous poem, 'Twas the night before Christmas, and adapting it to fit each holiday. In this book, the reader follows a group of kids as they prepare to celebrate Valentine's Day at school. The night before they make special cards at home to share with their classmates. The next day, they participate in all of the fun school activities associated with the holiday. They decorate the room, giggle about a secret admirer, play games, do art, swap cards, enjoy treats and finally get a special surprise from Cupid. The story is incredibly cute, told in a wonderful rhyme and includes some playful illustrations.

Love, Ruby Valentine by Laurie B. Friedman
This book has definitely become our favorite book to read in preparations for Valentine's Day this year. My daughter has fallen in love with Ruby and requests us to read it repeatedly all day long! Ruby Valentine and her cute pet, Lovebird, live in Heartland. They can't wait for Valentine's Day to arrive. They start counting down the days until the vey special holiday and stay extremely busy preparing for it. However, when February 14th finally rolls around, they are both so exhausted and end up sleeping the entire day. Ruby is incredibly sad when she wakes up and realizes what happens. Lovebird suggest going into town and celebrating anyways. Ruby learns an important lesson that day. You don't have to wait until Valentine's Day to tell or show someone how much you love and care for them. The rhymes are so good throughout the entire book and the fun illustrations give the reader a lot to look at. My daughter enjoys pointing out every single heart on every single page. We would recommend this book in a heartbeat!!!  

Ruby Valentine Saves the Day by Laurie B. Friedman
After reading and enjoying Love, Ruby Valentine, we couldn't wait to check out this sequel. Another Valentine's Day is drawing near as Ruby and Lovebird settle into a new house. They immediately start planning the absolute perfect party to help celebrate their favorite holiday. Ruby is so busy decorating, cleaning and cooking that she easily overlooks the fact that the temps are dropping rather quickly outside. Just when Ruby thinks she has everything planned just right, a snowstorm hits Heartland on Valentine's Day. No one is able to make it up the snow covered mountain where Ruby lives. She is so disheartened that her perfect party is ruined. Lovebird gently suggests packing up the party and taking it into town. Once they arrive, they realize that things still don't go as planned, but Ruby learns another very important lesson. Planning the perfect party is not what makes the holiday great. All that's matters is spending it surrounded by the ones you love. Another book with a great message, fun rhymes and really cute illustrations!

Won't You Be My Hugaroo? by Joanne Ryder
"Won't you be my hugaroo? I've lots of hugs to share with you." I've been reading this delightful book to my daughter for two years now! It describes thirteen different types of hugs. Some are silly: a twirly hug, a tickle hug, or a roller-coaster-riding hug. While others are more normal: a cheer up hug, a cuddly hug or a goodbye hug. Which ever ends up being your favorite, a hug is sometimes just what you need. Each hug is described in a fun, one sentenced rhyme. It includes some whimsical illustrations of animals spending the day at an amusement park. As my daughter has gotten older, we like to act out each hug as we read them. Another great hug themed book we enjoy is How Do You Hug a Porcupine?  

The Ballad of Valentine by Alison Jackson
This is such a cute book to read around Valentine's Day. It follows a beau as he desperately tries to deliver a sweet letter to his sweetheart professing his love. In fact, he has written forty different letters and unfortunately not a single one of them has ever reached her. My daughter gets a kick out of watching how his message is always interrupted. The story is told in a short, fun rhyme that can be sung to the tune, "Oh My Darling, Clementine". It also includes some really cute illustrations. 

If You'll Be My Valentine by Cynthia Rylant
This book is a great way to introduce Valentine's Day to toddlers and preschoolers. It follows a little boy as he makes special cards for all of the people, pets and things that he cherishes most. The pets, siblings, grandma, stuffed bear, and parents all get a card. Each page contains a large, cheerful illustration and a cute little poem explaining what the boy will do for each of his special valentine recipients. It's a great way to talk about doing something extra special for your loved ones to help celebrate the holiday.

 My Heart Is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall
Simple rhymes and vivid colors makes this a sweet read that will captivate any young toddler. All of the animals are made using several sized hearts and various shapes. They are incredibly cute and very creative. The text is very simple, but does rhyme. Great way to introduce your little one to more animals as well. It includes a beaver, yak, heron, seal, moose, hippos, crab, bear, bull, hornet, penguin, fox, caterpillar, rabbit, frog, coyote, lion, owl, walrus, clam, and bluejay. Would make a fun art project to do with older children as well! Punch out a bunch of hearts and try to copy the images.

Does your toddler or preschooler have any favorite Valentine's Day books that they love to read over and over again? As always, you can check out our other book reviews here. Now, we are off to work on some heart themed art projects! Happy reading bookworms. 

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