A Wreath of Hearts: Valentine's Day Picture Books to Love

The Shape of My Heart

The Shape of My Heart by Mark Sperring

My rating: 4 of 5 stars Here is a delightful and educational book about ...

Valentine's Day and shapes. I enjoyed the illustrations immensely and liked the educational content. This would be a household favorite, I think, though I found myself wishing for more actual story. I also was not crazy about the way the text was laid out on the page. Why not integrate it with the art more? I would not place this as a Valentine's Day book, regardless of the title. But as a concept book, it's fun with lots to look at and items and shapes to name. My trusty assistant* would consider this a favorite!

I Love You Already!

I Love You Already! by Jory John

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The adult reader will for sure relate to the bear who just wants some friggin QUIET! Throughout the story the poor bear is beset by his best friend with questions and requests and just a whole lot of chatter. Like the bear, I found his best friend irritating. And given how irritating, I wasn't entirely convinced in the bear's avowal of affection at the end. The illustrations were light and happy, the story simple enough, if long. A cute, non-love-and-hearts Valentine's find!

Bear in Love

Bear in Love by Daniel Pinkwater

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The sweet illustrations perfectly match an equally sweet story of a surprising friendship. A bear finds surprises (edible ones) and eventually starts leaving gifts of his own. Of course the adult in me was thinking, "No, don't it's a hunter's ploy! He wants you for a bearskin rug!" But it wasn't a hunter. Nope, rather a sweet little... HAH I won't spoil it. The repetition was engaging, but overall I thought it was perhaps a bit too repetitive. The back and forth went on perhaps too long without anything else happening. My preference: this maybe should have been a 10-16pg board book instead of a 32pg picture book. Of the new Valentine's Day books however, this is a winner.

Zombie in Love

Zombie in Love by Kelly DiPucchio

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The adult me loves this book. Concept, illustrations spot on. The story of a zombie looking for love in all the seemingly right places is just what I'd expect. And the solution, zombie meets zombie, also expected. The twist on a popular pop song was less expected and highly funny (for me, the adult), but overall I found it a bit wordy and predictable. Slight, like an underfed zombie. So because I'm an adult, I'm giving it four stars for my own reading enjoyment. As a parent and for my inner child, I would give it three. For the simple reason that my four-year-old assistant would not let me read her this book. Too scary. And I think the dating theme was handled a bit too maturely for the audience. But the illustrations are boss. Can I say "boss"? Probably not. I'm probably too old. Sorry.

Plant a Kiss Board Book

Plant a Kiss Board Book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I absolutely love the illustrations, and the voice of the story and the story itself. I did not, however, fully "get" the abstract concept. I know the author doesn't want it to be pedantic, and I appreciate that, but if I didn't really catch on, I wonder how well a child will? I wanted more direction/author intrusion. Very pretty book, however.

The Day It Rained Hearts

The Day It Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sweet little heart-catching girl makes valentines for all her friends. What a delightful book! I love the happy illustrations, the craft-ability, and how well the illustrations and spare text work together. I was surprised to see who the valentines went to - perfect for a child's world. This is a classic. I can see why it's still a favorite after so many years.

The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart

The Very Fairy Princess Follows Her Heart by Julie Andrews Edwards

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A story of a girl whose Valentine's Day is nearly ruined all because ... Ha, I almost did it again. I love the explosion of pink in the illustrations. And I love the subtle switch-up of the valentine's with Daddy's work papers. The text could have been a bit trimmer, but this is a fun, girl-friendly Valentine's Day book.

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*Four-year-old Little Miss Rowdy Britches