Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Valentine’s Day Readaloud: Love, by Stacy McAnulty

Love, by Stacy McAnulty/Illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff, (Dec. 2018, Running Press), $17.99, ISBN: 978-0-7624-6212-4

Ages 3-8

Stacy McAnulty and illustrator Joanne Lew-Vriethoff team up again for Love, a sweet companion to Brave and Beautiful. Here, Ms. McAnulty and Ms. Lew-Vriethoff explore the sweet side of love, illustrated by children undertaking the kindest, most gentle tasks. Stacy McAnulty’s words take on even greater significance when paired with Joanne Lew-Vriethoff’s illustrations. “Love at first sight” features a spread of kids hugging shelter pets and new siblings; greeting a new friend in nature or a new, adopted sibling at the airport; “Love needs special presents and designer greeting cards” sees friends visiting and giving gifts and making cards for others, be it a sick friend, a grandmother, or someone who just needs a pick-me-up.

Love speaks to the value of time spent with friends and family, doing good things for the purpose of seeing one another smile. As Stacy McAnulty concludes, “Because nothing else matters without love”. The colorful illustrations and multicultural group of characters will keep readers interested. It’s a comfort to read stories that remind kids (and adults!) that the simplest things are the most important, and most remembered: time spent with family, friends, and community.

Love has a starred review from Kirkus, which also notes that this is a perfect read “for balancing the commercialism of Valentine’s Day”. Have your storytime group make their own “designer greeting cards” to give to someone they love. Maybe create a list of good deeds, based on the ones here, for readers to take home, reminding them of the power of kindness. This one is a good add to your storytime and empathy collections. Stacy McAnulty has valentines and worksheets based on Love available for free download at her website!

 

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Blog Tour: Duck and Hippo – The Secret Valentine!

Duck and Hippo are back, spreading their messages of friendship and celebration, with their fourth adventure!

Duck and Hippo: The Secret Valentine, by Jonathan London/Illustrated by Andrew Joyner,
(Dec. 2018, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 9781503900356
Ages 4-7

It’s Valentine’s Day, and Duck has a fun idea to bring her friends together to celebrate! Hippo, Elephant, Pig, and Turtle all receive mysterious cards, inviting them to meet their Valentine at the park at 4 p.m. Each friend has their own idea of who it could be, and when they get all dressed up and arrive at the park with their gifts, they’re in for a big SURPRISE!

The Duck and Hippo books are just adorable, and The Secret Valentine does away with the idea of having one set Valentine: everyone gets to share the day here! Sharp-eyed readers will spot Duck as she hides before being discovered, as she delivers her Valentine invites. There are great sound effect opportunities, too: there are water SPLOOPS, pizza dough SPLATS, street sweeping HUSHA-SHUSHA-SHUSHAS, and more, all emphasized with bold, colorful, oversized fonts. Great to get the kids pantomiming along! The whole idea of the book is perfect for a storytime or classroom Valnetine’s party: everyone gets a Valentine, and everyone gets to celebrate together. Like every Duck and Hippo book, the heart of the story is friendship and sharing – a lovely message to pass along! Jonathan London and Andrew Joyner have created adorable, memorable, children’s book characters with Duck, Hippo, and their friends. I look forward to spending time with them again and again.

Learn how to draw Duck and Hippo in this free downloadable activity page! https://www.andrewjoyner.com.au/activities/.

 

Jonathan London is the author of more than one hundred children’s books, including the Froggy series, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz, which has sold more than fifteen million copies. Jonathan lives in Graton, California. Learn more at www.jonathan-london.net.

Andrew Joyner is an Australian illustrator and author whose work has been published in more than twenty-five countries. He has created the artwork for many picture books, and he is author and illustrator of a chapter book series about a warthog named Boris. Andrew lives in South Australia. Learn more at www.andrewjoyner.com.au.

 

 

One lucky winner will receive a copy of DUCK AND HIPPO: THE SECRET VALENTINE courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses). Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance!

Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Valentine’s Day Reading: Valensteins

Valensteins, by Ethan Long, (Dec. 2017, Bloomsbury USA), $16.99, ISBN: 9781619634336

Recommended for readers 4-7

The latest book starring Ethan Long’s Fright Club friends sees Fran – Frankenstein, to you – intently working on something. The rest of the gang has to find out what’s going on, naturally, and when Fran’s secret gets out – he’s working on a valentine! The mere thought of having a crush gives the rest of the group the heebie jeebies, so Fran heads off to get some alone time… and ends up having a sweet moonlight meeting with his Valentine.

How adorable is this book? It’s a sweet little Valentine’s Day story that talks about crushes, with all the perfect kid-like reactions: the heart looks like a bat, a pair of fangs, or – my favorite – a little butt – to the other kids, and when the Easter Bunny regales the group about all the mushy-smushy details about love, they shriek in terror. If you’ve ever been around kids giggling and squealing over kissing and crushes, you know what I’m talking about. Fran’s crush’s reaction to her valentine is adorable and sweet, and Ethan Long sums up a crush perfectly with the sentence, “It’s about something you feel in your real heart, even if it does feel a little funny sometimes.”

The graphite pencil artwork provides a nice, classic monster-movie base that the digital coloring takes to and gives a classic monster movie sort of feeling to the whole story. The cover font, with its monster movie marquee font and hot pink drop shadow, is eye-catching. I always enjoy Ethan Long’s books; this one is an adorable add to picture book collections and makes for a sweet Valentine’s Day read-aloud.