Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Read, Read, Read, said the Baby: Valentine's Day Board Books

[I almost never do holiday book posts, but I wanted to revise this review covering Valentine's Day-themed board books that I wrote a few years ago, so here you go.]

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.
Sweet Dreams Lullaby is one of the lovelier bedtime board books I've seen, with sweet little rhymes and glowing pictures. A little bunny is inspired by the parent bunny to cuddle up in bed and "dream of water-lily beds/where baby peepers rest their heads./a daddy frog sings low and deep,/lulling all the pond to sleep." Each spread features a different verse about a different aspect of nature, including sunny days, clouds and sky, night sky, stars, etc. The pictures are my favorite part of this sweet little board book, with softly glowing pastels and cute, happy faces. I'm not really 100% behind this as a board book, since I feel the rhyming text is too long for most children aged two and under, which is who I buy board books for; however it's also available as a hardcover picture book. This would make a nice Valentine's Day present or a sweet read for an evening storytime.

Finally, Tweet Hearts is what I'd think of as a novelty book. It's a counting book, counting little hearts doing silly things, with a final spread that pops out a thin cardboard heart saying "I love you." The pictures are cute and parents will like this one, but it's not something I'd recommend to a library. The hearts are hard to differentiate from the illustrations, especially for a young audience. In one spread there are bubbles and heart-shaped bubbles, in another heart-shaped balloons and clouds. Older children would have no problem with this, but I can't see a reason to be reading this very small board book to an older child. The pop-out heart at the end will last about 30 seconds on the regular board book shelf.

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


Robert Kent said...

Fun, fun, fun! Happy Valentines!

Donnaquilt said...

Thanks for the Valentine book ideas! I'm always on the lookout for new ones.

I have used a few of your ideas over the past couple of years. I'd like to share something with you.

I am wondering you are a member of Flannel Friday? You can find the group on Facebook, or Pinterest. We share flannel ideas and lots of other programming ideas for libraries. It's open to anyone working with children but started by librarians.

It's a great group!

Donna Holmen
Kenosha Public Library

Jennifer said...

Yeah, I follow it on blogs and pintrest, but I post all my flannels and rhymes on a separate blog, and they're more a resource than a weekly posting, so I don't really have anything to add. I enjoy looking at all the creative ideas though!

Donnaquilt said...

I think I might have posted to you twice. Sorry. The first one didn't seem to go thru.

I don't add that much either to the group. We have so many flannels at our library that we really don't need too many more. I just like new ideas so I don't get stale.

I'm glad you peek at the group though!

Smiles, Donna down in Kenosha

Jennifer said...

Some of them (many of them) put me to shame, my own cutting abilities are less than stellar. I actually just drove through Kenosha yesterday, on my way back from traveling to Racine to use their extensive die cut collection to cut flannel board pieces!