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  • Kelsey Marie Paff

Five Board Books for Valentine's Day


With Valentine's Day just around the corner here are five board books for the occasion.


1. Love Block by Christopher Franceschelli with art by Peskimo.

First up, Love Block. For those of you who are familiar with the Block series I think this is one of my favorite ones yet. With fold-out flaps on each page, Love Block gives over ten examples of what love is followed by an illustration of a different animal from around the world (all except for the last page which shows families and children playing in a park). Here's an excerpt: "Love is a journey and I'll be with you every step of the way...love is flexible and I'll stick my neck out for you every day...love is strong. You have my back And I'll always have yours...." A beautifully composed board book and one that children will love listening to and interacting with. Our three year old is a big fan.


The only thing I would caution families about though is that while the flaps are quite sturdy they are a lot of fun to pull off if the little one happens to be a determined two year old.


2. Sonrisas For Baby: A Book of Smiles by Jen Arena with illustrations by Blanca Gomez

A board book written in English and Spanish, Sonrisas for Baby follows a little one as he sees smiles every day. While I love the smiling balloons on the cover and the book is very cheering, I think it's important to note that some of the smiles come from fictional characters like smiling strawberries, houses and flowers. By showing those smiling fictional characters however, I think children will perhaps see their surrounding environment as friendly and inviting. After all, how many children do you know who wouldn't want to walk outside and feel as though everything around them was smiling at them? I particularly like how the final page shows a list of English and Spanish words with illustrations.



3. Under the Love Umbrella by Davina Bell with illustrations by Allison Colpoys

I saw Under the Love Umbrella when it first came out and I was really drawn to the illustrations. The fluorescence throughout its pages coupled with a matte finish creates an amazing visual combo. The specs of reflective silver on the cover also add to the feeling of fireworks. Written in rhyme, children will quickly know from the book that no matter what, they will always be loved. "In deepest dark. When big dogs bark. Or waves crash loud is that a shark? When friends won't share. And things aren't fair. There's always my love umbrella. One of my favorite illustration is below. It has such a joyful, dreamy feel to it.


4. My Baby Loves Valentine's Day by Jabari Asim with illustrations by Tara Nicole Whitaker

A board book filled with popular Valentine's Day themes such as paper-heart making, flower shopping, receiving I love you notes and enjoying chocolate, My Baby Loves Valentine's Day highlights one family's love for one another and the joy that children feel when they have meaningful interactions with their family. My favorite line was at the end of the book: "Baby loves to snuggle and giggle and play with Mommy and Daddy on Valentine's Day." Also, I wish my house looked that festive and cozy on Valentine's Day!


5. My Art Book of Love. Words by Shana Gozansky

I'm always very impressed with the quality of Phaidon board books and while I think young children will be able to grasp most of the feelings behind each picture in the book, I would have left out some of the wording that they chose. For example, the book starts off with "Love is..." followed by a series of images and short descriptions such as "Soft snuggles...slow dances...a comfort...." The one that I didn't think young children would understand is the page that says "Love is...a secret." That's just my opinion but I'd find that hard to explain to a four year old or an older sibling listening near by. All in all it's beautifully compiled and the book provides a means to introduce children to different artists and works of art at a young age.


Enjoy!


*All links will take you to Amazon.