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Open your heart and these books

Some picture books to send a sweet Valentine's Day message:

"EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU: A Pop-Up Trip Around the World," by Beegee Tolpa (illustrator), Penguin, $12.99 (ages 4-8)

"I love you" is translated into five languages with intricate pop-up scenes. For example, in France "Je t'aime" is accompanied by an 8-inch paper Eiffel Tower. In Holland "Ik hou van jou" carries the message of international love in front of a waving windmill.

"AMELIA BEDELIA'S FIRST VALENTINE," by Herman Parish and Lynne Avril (illustrator), Greenwillow, $16.99 (ages 4-8)

Herman Parish was 9 years old when his aunt Peggy wrote the first Amelia Bedelia story. Since her death in 1988, Herman has carried on the legacy. This one is full of typical Amelia puns like "wearing your heart on your sleeve" and "breaking one's heart."

"FANCY NANCY: Heart to Heart," by Jane O'Connor, Carolyn Bracken (illustrator) and Robin Preiss Glasser (illustrator), HarperCollins, $4.99 (ages 4-8)

Readers will enjoy their favorite characters with stickers to complete the story. Nancy follows clues to find out who has sent the mystery Valentine.

"MY HEART IS LIKE A ZOO," by Michael Hall, Greenwillow, $16.99 (ages 4-8)

Hall blasts the pages with every color in the palette (actually the digital palette!) to form animals using the basic Valentine shape. But he cleverly includes feelings of the heart, as well. The stalwart orange-hued "brave as a lion" is cast near "thoughtful as an owl" in purple tones. There is so much in "My Heart Is Like a Zoo," where children can talk about feelings, name the colors, count the hearts and make collages of their own. This is a yearlong read!

"HUGABOO, I LOVE YOU," by Hans Wilhelm, Scholastic, $8.99 (ages 4-8)

Animal arms give hugaboos to their babies and a surprise finale with a "hugaboo for you."

Books with feel, flaps and fold-ups are fun Valentine's gifts for ages 3-6.

"HENRY IN LOVE," by Peter McCarty, HarperCollins, $16.95 (ages 3-6)

In a playful game of tag (figuratively and literally), Henry spies Chloe, the "loveliest girl in the class" and, in elementary school fashion ("his best forward roll") tries to impress her. When she claims the blueberry muffin he had saved for snack time, Henry is in awe. This is first love at its sweetest.

"KISSES: A Pull, Touch, Lift, Squeak and Smooch Book!" by Barney Saltzberg, HMH Books, $13.99 (ages infant-4)

Creatures pop out and give kisses to readers.

"GREAT VALENTINE DAY MIX-UP," by Saxton Moore, Penguin, $6.99 (ages 4-8)

Oversized flaps reveal codes for solving messages when all the valentines are mixed up in Miss Sue's classroom.

Board books for the youngest sweeties ages 1-3 are:

"HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY MOUSE!" by Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond (HarperCollins, $6.99) where all of Mouse's friends appear. "LOVE (Baby Max and Ruby)," by Rosemary Wells, (Penguin $5.99) tells what Max loves the most and it is "the one who makes my jelly toast!" "SPOT'S VALENTINE," by Eric Hill (Penguin, $7.99). This marks the 30th anniversary of the favorite dog, Spot. Here he makes a valentine especially for his mom.

e-mail: marilou.sorensen@att.net