Good Valentine's tales for your little sweethearts
Kids' books: A list of new children's books that celebrate Valentine's Day
Scripps Howard News Service
Celebrate Valentine's Day with one of these great new children's books:
• Henry's a small boy with a big crush on a classmate named Chloe. In "Henry in Love" (B+B/HarperCollins, $16.99), author-illustrator Peter McCarty details how Henry expresses his affection for Chloe by doing his best forward roll. Chloe, meanwhile, responds by doing a perfect cartwheel. The two then engage in a chasing game, with Chloe telling Henry: "You will never catch me!" As the book ends, Henry gives Chloe the blueberry muffin he has been saving for his own afternoon snack, contenting himself with a carrot instead. McCarty's gently paced story is a pitch-perfect look at childhood flirtations, and his decision to use animals as his characters (Henry is a cat; Chloe is a bunny) gives this book an even more universal appeal. McCarty, who won a 2003 Caldecott Honor for "Hondo & Fabian," uses his trademark artistic style — expressively drawn characters who act out the story on uncluttered pages — to wonderful effect here. Readers will particularly enjoy the way McCarty visualizes Henry's affection for Chloe, showing her seated at her school desk surrounded by a field of flowers. (Ages 3-6.)
• Author-illustrator Rosemary Wells published her first book about siblings Max and Ruby more than 30 years ago. Now there's a new board-book series called "Baby Max and Ruby" showing the brother and sister in their younger days. There are several titles in the series, but a perfect pick for Valentine's Day is "Love" (Viking, $5.99). Here, Wells pairs a simple rhyming text with colorful illustrations to create a book that little ones will love to read. And they'll especially enjoy the eye-catching bonus: bits of shiny silver paper embedded in some of the illustrations, plus the concluding illustration showing glittery jelly on Max's toast. (Ages birth-2.)
• Another beloved character is shown at a younger age in "Amelia Bedelia's First Valentine" (HarperCollins, $16.99). Written by Herman Parish, nephew of Amelia Bedelia creator Peggy Parish, this book is the second volume showing Amelia Bedelia as a child. ("Amelia Bedelia's First Day of School" was published last year.) Once again, Herman Parish humorously highlights Amelia Bedelia's tendency to take things literally, even as a child. For example, when a classmate asks Amelia Bedelia to give him a little punch at the classroom Valentine's Day party, she punches his arm instead of serving him a cup of fruit punch. Amelia Bedelia even takes her valentines literally, putting a bandage across a broken heart on one valentine that reads "Hi Heartbreaker!" and putting a tissue "blanket" over another card stating "You're 2 Cool." Parish's story, which revolves around Amelia Bedelia's Valentine's Day activities, will delight her legion of fans. The colorful, energetic illustrations by Lynne Avril add even more charm and fun to the book. (Ages 4-7.)
• Combine a guessing game with appealing photographs of animals and a twist on the "lift the flap" format and you've got a winning book called "Guess Who?" (Little Simon, $7.99). Written and illustrated by Lola Schaefer, "Guess Who?" is billed as a "foldout valentine's adventure." The rhyming text is simple, but it's the photographs and the way that the book pages fold out from each other that will capture the hearts of young readers, who will undoubtedly want to play the guessing game over and over again. (Ages 3-5.)
• Pat Mora explores the intense sensation of teenage love in "Dizzy in Your Eyes: Poems About Love" (Knopf, $15.99). In 50 poems, Mora writes about the joys, sorrows and challenges that love can bring. Some of her poems are written in specific forms — such as sonnet, sestina and haiku — and Mora offers readers a brief definition of each form. Mora's poems are nicely organized in an easy-to-read style that will appeal to teen readers, who may even be inspired to try writing their own poetry. (Ages 12 up.)
Here are a few other delightful Valentine's Day books:
• Spot and his mom Sally celebrate Valentine's Day in an oversized board book titled "Spot's Valentine" (Putnam, $7.99), written and illustrated by Eric Hill. (Ages 2-4.)
• Author Joanne Ryder portrays a parent's love for a child in "Bear of My Heart" (Little Simon, $8.99), a soft, chunky board book illustrated by Margie Moore. (Ages 1-3.)
• Kids and adults can learn how to say "I love you" in various languages with "Everyone Says I Love You" (Price Stern Sloan, $12.99), a mini pop-up book. (Ages 4 up.)
• Author-illustrator Barney Saltzberg focuses on smooches in his pull-tab book titled "Kisses" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $13.99, ages 3-5).
Karen MacPherson, the children's/teen librarian at the Takoma Park, Md., Library, can be reached at Kam.Macpherson@gmail.com.
Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.