I’ve discovered Valentine’s Day is really much more fun with kids. No outlandish romantic ideals to be crushed. No overpriced dinners for two. Just a fun day where (hopefully!) everyone feels loved, with a small treat at each person’s spot at the dinner table. And as much red or heart-shaped food as I can possibly come up with. It’s much louder around here than it used to be, but we wouldn’t trade it.
We’ve amassed quite a collection of Valentine’s Day kid books over the years. Silly books. Books about love. Books about hugs or kisses. Books about hearts. It might be my favorite collection of our holiday books, actually. Here are our favorites:
Bear Hugs: Romantically Ridiculous Animal Rhymes by Karma Wilson and Suzanne Watts — a collection of funny, clever poems about “romantically ridiculous” animals. This book makes me smile every time I read it.
My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall — nicely written, but my favorite thing is the illustrations. Each zoo animal in the story is made from hearts in various sizes and colors. We like to read and then make animal valentines of our own to give to people.
Hug by Jezz Alborough — a wonderful book for very small children. There are three words total, but by the end, we’re all sympathizing with the little chimp, who finally finds his parents to give him exactly what he needs.
How Do I Love You? by P.K. Hallinan — such a great, reassuring message to little kids that we love them, on both their best and very worst days and all those in between.
Duck & Goose: Goose Needs a Hug by Tad Hills — Duck and Goose are one of my favorite children’s book duos (behind Frog and Toad, but I think before George and Martha…). And when Goose needs a hug — well, it’s hilarious shenanigans all around.
How Do Dinosaurs Say I Love You? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague — the “How Do Dinosaurs…” is another great series, and this book is right up there.
The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown — another beautifully reassuring story for kids that shows the depth of a mother’s love for her baby bunny.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff — the mouse from “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie,” realizes that he loves all his friends for different reasons. And — surprise! They love him right back.
Snuggle Puppy! a little love song by Sandra Boynton — snuggly, goofy, silliness from Sandra Boynton, with some pretty funny pictures to match (there’s also a great song, sung by Eric Stoltz, which you can listen to here. I think you should.)
I Love You: A Rebus Poem by Jean Marzollo and Suse Macdonald — this one is great for almost-readers, because part of the story is told in pictures. And it all rhymes.
Such fun! Grab one and get reading with your snuggle puppy…