Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Valentine's Day books

Henry in Love (Hardcover), by Peter Mccarty.  Henry becomes smitten with his classmate Chloe.  Henry is illustrated as a cat and Chloe as a bunny.  For not all that many words (generally a brief sentence per page), the author conveys quite a bit of storyline.  Henry awakes to the smell of homemade blueberry muffins, one of which his mother packs in his lunch bag.  At lunchtime, Henry saves the muffin for his afternoon snack.  He plays with an older football player on his way to school - Chloe's older brother.  We learn that Henry thinks Chloe is "the loveliest girl in the class."  Some recess gymnastics offer an amusing glimpse at young love courtship (see excerpt).  After some desk rearranging, Henry and Chloe end up seated next to one another for snack time.  Henry wordlessly hands his muffin to Chloe.  "Chloe ate the blueberry muffin. / Henry had a carrot."  A sweet story, illustrated nicely in a subdued pen and ink style.
"At recess Henry decided to walk up to Chloe.  'You're not going to talk to a girl, are you?' said Sancho. / Henry did his best forward roll. / 'Show him what you can do, Chloe,' said Abby. / Chloe turned a perfect cartwheel.  Henry was impressed."
Bookworm's interest at 2 years, 2 months: I wasn't sure he would like it.  It is probably better suited for a slightly older child, but he sat through the entire thing, and pointed at the muffin.  I think he understood that Henry "shared" his muffin, at least.
Parent's Peeve: In the beginning of the book, the line "He got ready for the day" accompanies an illustration of Henry in his underwear, from behind, standing in front of a toilet.  It seemed like a weird choice to me.  But it didn't ruin the book for me or anything.   Hey, it might even help with potty training.

This next one certainly isn't a Valentine's Day book, but it occurred to me that it could make a sweet choice as a gift for the holiday, for a child or maybe even a quiet couple on their wedding day?

The Very Quiet Cricket (Hardcover), by Eric Carle.  A young cricket is born.  A big cricket says "Welcome!" and the little cricket tries to respond, "so he rubbed his wings together.  But nothing happened.  Not a sound."  As he encounters all different insects - locust, praying mantis, worm, spittlebug, cicada, bumblebee, dragonfly, mosquito, luna moth - the scene repeats.  Until he meets a female cricket.  And then, see excerpt.
"As the luna moth disappeared silently into the distance, the cricket saw another cricket.  She, too, was a very quiet cricket.  Then he rubbed his wings together one more time.  And this time . . . / he chirped the most beautiful sound she had ever heard."
Bookworm's interest at 2 years, 2 months: He loved making the book do the chirping sound, of course.  I feared he wouldn't really let me read it to him once we got it home, and would just want to keep turning to the back to hear the chirp.  But, I was happy that he sat through and enjoyed the whole thing, helping to name some of the insects.
Parent's Peeve: The same line repeats often.  I mean, very often.  That is, it repeats.  Often.  But, you know, kids like that.  Often.

I was hoping to get this one today (I love the cover), but all of the copies were out (no surprise -- I should probably start putting hold requests on Easter books). 

My Heart Is Like a Zoo

Here is a link to other Valentine's Day/love-themed books we have reviewed in the past.

Do you buy Valentine's Day gifts for you kids? I haven't bought anything yet.  I am leaning toward just making him some muffins in heart-shaped muffin cups.  I did buy a new puzzle for him, but I gave it to him as soon as it arrived today.  I do feel a new book order coming on soon ...

Note: If you click on any of the links above and purchase anything, we may earn a small commission through our affiliate relationship with


Ivy said...

I used to buy the kids valentine's day books, but I haven't for awhile. The hands down favorite is Lily's Choclate Heart by Kevin Hankes (very short!!!), and A Little Bill Valentine's book.

vanessa said...

I saw My Heart is Like a Zoo at a bookstore yesterday and it was pretty cute! Might be more suited for a 1 year old, though. The illustrations were really fun--all the animals are made out of hearts.

Raising a Happy Child said...

My DH and I decided long time ago that we are not celebrating Valentine's Day. We find it cheesy and forced. We still read books with Anna and obligated to bring 20 Valentines to her preschool, but she is not getting any Valentine gifts from us. I figure that 20 Valentines that she will receive back will keep her rather happy.

Playing by the book said...

Valentine's Day here in the UK is pretty much only a romantic thing - the thought of kids in school giving each other gifts or cards is very strange (nice, but strange). It's nice that in the US it seems to be more about appreciating all the people we love, but as Raising a Happy Child said it's not much fun when everything get forced and over commercialised.

Britt said...

The county library hasn't even gotten My Heart is like a Zoo in yet, let alone out on shelves! It's still "on order". Blah.

Om Mama said...

Eric Carle books are quite repetetive, aren't they?
I don't do Valentine gifts for hubby or my girl. But I usually pick up some kind of sweet chocolatey treat, like an eclair, yummy, just made myself drool!!

We have made a tradition of making our own Valentines for for her friends and classmates. Card stock, stickers, markers, scissors glue and glitter and glue! So much fun and way nicer than most storebought ones.

BTW, my Valentine pet peeve is all the candy my girl brings home from school attatched to the Valentines cards! Why do people do that?

Infant Bibliophile said...

@Ivy I should read Lily's Chocolate Heart! My first thought was I would avoid most food related books, because my son is allergic to most chocolate (milk and nut allergies), but I am probably being silly, because I buy him "safe" chocolate anyway.

@Vanessa I won't feel bad that I didn't get it, if you think it is better for a younger child! It would be a fun book to do a companion craft with, though, making animals out of hearts. Maybe I'll get it from the library after the holiday has passed.

@Raising a Happy Child I agree that it is commercial, but somehow I don't much mind. As long as we don't get too caught up in feeling that we have to get expensive gifts. I personally like the reminder to be a bit more romantic. It is easy to forget each other when parenting full-time.

@Playing By The Book I appreciated your comment, as my husband is from New Zealand and probably has the UK view of things.

@Britt Can't you do interlibrary loan or is your county library not linked up to the other branches? I'm always grabbing things from other branches through the reserve system.

@OM Mama -- Ugh, my son would probably be allergic to most of it too! I totally agree on homemade cards. We have begun doing homemade birthdays cards, even if they are mostly scribbles and collaged messes at this stage. I still think people appreciate them more. At least, I do! I have some fun ideas for homemade valentine's day cards for the Bibliophile's friends, but I don't know if I will get to it this year or not. He doesn't have a preschool distribution to worry about yet.

Britt said...

It's the Salt Lake County system, so most of the libraries in the valley are on that system. I've never looked into getting stuff from the Salt Lake City library system or the Murray City system...

I totally want the book just so I can recreate all the animals with my heart paper punches. :D

MaryAnne said...

We haven't done valentine gifts for the kids so far - I could see doing it as they get a bit older now. For now, they are thrilled to just make valentines for friends and family.

Terry Doherty said...

I had the exact same reaction to the start of Henry's day! My 8YO liked most of it, but thought there were "pages missing" because sometimes the story took a leap, like talking about the class and then going to "are you looking at me?" on the next page.

Don't be discouraged by My Heart is Like a Zoo. My 8YO LOVED it. Because there are so many hearts to discover, it is fun for older kids. It's also great for "animal play," and making noises or acting like the featured animal.