Two of the four books I am reviewing today are specifically holiday-themed and the other two are more generically "love" themed. I will say, first of all, that Valentine's Day is not a holiday I particularly like (I don't really like any holidays, to be honest) but the crafts are easy - lots of pink paper and glitter and both kids and parents are happy. Despite my own feelings, we do Valentine's programs every year if only so that people can't remind me, yet again, of the year I did a snake-themed storytime.
So, we begin with 10 Valentine Friends, a counting book. This is a tried and true formula from author Janet Schulman and illustrator Linda Davick. They also have a Halloween, Christmas and Easter book in the same format. Bland rhymes and flat, digital pictures walk the reader through Valentines for each child in the story. A separate space on the side of each page shows the cards made so far. It's easy to count, strongly holiday-themed, and boring. However, there aren't too many Valentine's Day books, parents ask for them, and they like the counting aspect. A book doesn't have to be amazing to be a successfully circulating title and this one will definitely go out every Valentine's Day. I'm fine with adding this to the holiday collection, but this is a book that I do not see a use for as a board book. The children pictured are much older than a board book audience and the story and counting are too complex for babies and toddlers, let alone the Valentines concept.
Next, we have Duck and Goose: Goose Needs a Hug. This is Tad Hills' very successful board book line with simple concepts illustrated by his cheery team of little birds. In this title, Goose is feeling sad and his friends keep trying to cheer him up. Finally, they take the time to listen to what he wants and find out that he just needs a hug. This would make a nice, non-romantic Valentine's Day read for even the youngest ones in storytime and Hills is expert at including just the right amount of text for young listeners. This is a definite must to add to your board book collection.
Verdict: I highly recommend Goose needs a hug in board book format. I suggest purchasing Sweet Dreams Lullaby and 10 Valentine Friends as hardcover picture books. Give Tweet Hearts a miss.
10 Valentine Friends: A holiday counting book by Janet Schulman, illustrated by Linda Davick
ISBN: 9780375871306; This edition published 2012 by Alfred A. Knopf/Random House; Review copy provided by the publisher; Donated to the library
Duck & Goose: Goose needs a hug by Tad Hills
ISBN: 9780307982933; Published 2012 by Schwartz & Wade/Random House; Review copy provided by the publisher; Donated to the library
Sweet Dreams Lullaby by Betsy Snyder
ISBN: 9780307980601; This edition published 2012 by Random House; Review copy provided by the publisher; Donated to the library
Tweet Hearts by Susan Reagan
ISBN: 9780307931535; Published 2012 by Robin Corey/Random House; Review copy provided by the publisher; Donated to the prize box