Feeling the Love in Picture Books

Love Books

Image courtesy of ponsuwan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My boys and I are back once again with our quick look, book reviews and ratings. As before, each score is rated out of 10, with 10 being the best and 1 the worst. The first of each scores is from my youngest boy.

As we approach Valentine’s Day what better way to celebrate than to learn about love. I have to admit it wasn’t a topic I had previously thought to read about to my boys at this age. I guess I was hoping my daily motherly actions would be a more than sufficient demonstration of love for now. Yet there are times in every parent’s life when we have to step back and realise we cannot teach our children everything and the full extent of love is one of these such things. Parental love is just one type of love so it’s both natural and inevitable that our children will have genuine feelings for others throughout their lives.  At times I think some adults can be very quick to dismiss a child’s feelings for others and consider them to be easily replaceable and somehow less important than their own “mature” feelings. We should never underestimate the intensity of a child’s feelings. A child’s love can be naïve but no matter how misguided it may be, it is no less real or genuine. How many times in your childhood were you told there are “plenty more fish in the sea” for example? This may well be and it may be appropriate to move on but it doesn’t deal with the feelings that remain. Most of us tumble our way through life trying to fathom out love with no instructions or map to guide us so rather than seeing love as a commodity that is easily replaced these books we have chosen aim to SHOW children HOW to love. Having feelings of love may come to us more easily than knowing how to deal with them, how to show our love and how to treat the people that we love. So it is never too early to start learning.

Guess How Much I Love You – Sam McBratney (author) & Anita Jeram (illustrator) RATING: 1/10; 7/10.

Yes we started with a classic which has inspired many a declaration of love between parents and children all over the world. Has anyone reached further than the next galaxy and back? Beautiful book however rated down by my youngest who said it was only about how much they loved each other and nothing else!

Love Splat – Rob Scotton (author/illustrator) RATING: 10/10; 10/10.

Splat is an endearing character who tells a simple tale of love and rivalry showing how modesty and kindness triumphs. A rose-tinted view perhaps but a nice introduction to competition in love with a happy ending. Ideal for the age group.

Everyone Says I Love You – Beegee Tolpa (illustrator) & Michael Caputo (paper engineer). RATING: 10/10; 9/10.

A lovely pop-up book with very little text. The pop-up pictures are iconic representations of six different countries (e.g. Eiffel Tower for France) and the text details the name of the country and how to say “I love you” in that country’s language (e.g. for France in French.) So simple yet this one little book still manages to teach language pronunciation, classic landmarks of each country and how love spans the world – all with very little writing!

Henry in Love Peter McCarty (author/illustrator). RATING: 10/10; 10/10.

Say I love you with a blueberry muffin! A sweet story of how the little gestures can mean the most.

Never too Little to Love – Jeanne Willis (author) Jan Fearnley (illustrator) RATING: 10/10; 10/10.

It takes two to love in this very cute book which has been creatively designed. Its simplicity will appeal from a young age as the message is simply the title!

The Giving Tree – Shel Silverstein (author/illustrator). RATING: 5/10; 8/10.

A well-known book about unconditional love which has been a controversial target of much debate over the years. Again not rated very highly by my youngest because he found it too sad and in this instance I have to agree. This book doesn’t leave me feeling all warm and cosy about love instead I’m left feeling it’s a thankless task. However the message is loud and clear that love is about giving not receiving and it takes two for love to thrive.

Love Monster – Rachel Bright (author/illustrator). RATING: 3/10; 9/10.

I can see a theme appearing with my youngest who rates any book down if something sad or scary happens. To him if something goes wrong it’s not good regardless of the outcome! This book portrays a valid message of not to look too hard for love, sometimes you may get it wrong but if you be yourself, it may find you. I like this book as it is more realistic than most but very gently approaches the possibility of disappointment on the road to love. It is an encouraging story of never giving up and accepting who you are.

Love is You and MeMonica Sheehan (author/illustrator). RATING: 10/10; 10/10.

An adorable depiction of all the good feelings love brings to a partnership. This could mean a parent, a friend or a pet. No matter who it is this book revels in the support, the sharing, the giving and the dependency that love initiates. Beautifully illustrated.

I Love You Stinky Face – Lisa McCourt (author) & Cyd Moore (illustrator). RATING: 5/10; 5/10.

A gentle, funny way of describing unconditional love and finding the good in people. Not much to the story line but a delight to read none the less.

A Kissing Hand – Audrey Penn (author) & Ruth E. Harper/Nancy M. Leak (illustrators). RATING: 10/10; 9/10.

A truly heart warming story of a parent making her child feel safe, secure and loved at all times, even when she is not present. A fantastic story which could help children build the courage and confidence they need for independence.

I hope you have loved our selection!

Where obtained: public or personal library.

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