Valentine’s Day celebrates relationships, whether of the romantic variety or with family and friends. Here are 10 delightful picture books that have crossed our desks recently and are about relationships.
“THERE’S THIS THING,” by Connah Brecon, Philomel, $16.99 (ages 5-8)
Sharing emotions can be difficult to do or even verbalize, as a red-headed girl discovers as she tries to leave a trail of crumbs, sets a trap and leads a small band to try to find love in this adorable book inspired in part by author/illustrator Connah Brecon’s daughter.
“STORMY NIGHT,” by Salina Yoon, Bloomsbury Children’s, $14.99 (ages 0-5)
The wind, thunder and rain make it difficult for Bear to sleep as he tries to be brave, but Mama and Papa come to comfort Bear and his toy bunny, Floppy. “We’ll hold you tight. We’ll keep you warm. Our love will keep you safe from the storm,” say Mama and Papa in this book about a common childhood fear.
“I LOVE YOU NEAR AND FAR,” by Marjorie Blain Parker, illustrated by Jed Henry, Sterling Children’s Books, $9.95 (ages 3-5)
Not all family members can live close together or always be together. With rhymes, this book, illustrated by Provo resident Jed Henry, explores the ways a family can keep in touch and express their love, both “near and far.”
“DRAGON’S EXTRAORDINARY EGG,” by Debi Gliori, Walker Books for Young Readers, $16.99 (ages 5-7)
A group of dragons relocates to a cold land and starts to lay eggs, but one dragon doesn’t have one. The dragon finds an egg that needs a mommy, even though what hatches is a penguin they call "Little One," and not a flying, fire-breathing, rock-chewing dragon.
Told as a bedtime story with commentary by a penguin mama and her little Bib, it’s a thoughtful story of love, adoption and how differences can be strengths.
“ZOMBIE IN LOVE 2+1,” by Kelly DiPucchio, illustrated by Scott Campbell, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $14.99 (ages 4-8)
Zombie parents Mortimer and Mildred aren’t sure what to do with a baby that sleeps through the night, hardly ever cries and doesn't like what they feed him, like they expect a good monster baby would. They anxiously take their baby to the doctor, who declares them lucky parents, in this story of nervous new parents.
“A DOZEN COUSINS,” by Lori Haskins Houran, illustrated by Sam Usher, Sterling Children’s Books, $14.95 (ages 3-6)
Anna has 12 cousins — all boys and all younger than her. This book shares the antics of the boys with rhymes and watercolors that give Anna every reason not to be happy with them. Those with rambunctious younger and close siblings will appreciate this story of an older cousin who sees past the antics.
“WHERE BEAR?” by Sophy Henn, Philomel, $16.99 (ages 5-8)
A little bear cub that grows up with a little boy grows really big and does bear things. So, they try to find Bear a home where he “can be bearish and big.” As they search, the toy store, zoo, jungle and circus are out with a simple “no” from Bear.
This simply told and illustrated tale shares how friends can be happy in different environments but still be friends.
“HERMAN’S LETTER,” by Tom Percival, Bloomsbury Children’s, $17.99 (ages 3-6)
Herman, a bear, and Henry, a raccoon, are great friends, but Henry had to move. They promised to be best friends forever. As they write letters, Henry sounds like he’s having a great time. Herman writes a letter before he hibernates, only to discover the post office is closed for the winter and he needs to deliver it himself, which turns into an adventure. The letters are displayed as flaps to be opened in this story of keeping friendships strong.
“SMICK!” by Doreen Cronin, illustrated by Juan Medina, Viking, $16.99 (ages 3-5)
Smick the dog and Chick the chick both spot a stick they want, and what happens is an unlikely friendship told in this simple, almost tongue-twisting story, illustrated with a combination of line drawings and photos.
“SICK SIMON,” by Dan Krall, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, $17.99 (ages 4-8)
Simon is determined to have fun at school and with his friends, but he’s sick. He soon learns that germs like it when he doesn’t wash his hands or cover his mouth, but germs aren’t the kind of friends Simon wants to have around in this humorous explainer about staying healthy and keeping the germs away.
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