My Creepy Valentineby Arthur Howard; illustrated by Arthur Howard. Oct. 2020. Mixed media. Published by Beach Lane Books.
Brief summary: Mitzi loves all of the holidays except Valentine’s Day. Witches like creepy stuff while Valentine’s Day is lovey. She has never made a valentine until she meets Spencer who can spurt milk out of his nose during lunch and wiggle his ears while hanging upside down at recess. Mitzi tries coming up with a perfect poem to give to him. She and her cat, Hoodwink, jump on her broom and secretly deliver it. Spencer does not respond the next day which causes her to be depressed. Will she cheer up? Will she ever receive a Valentine?
Comments: Cute story of finding someone who likes you just as much as you like them.
Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses; illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin. 2020. Jimmy Patterson Books; Little, Brown and Company.
Brief summary: A young girl and her guitar-toting father adventure into the countryside to get her mother at the farmer’s market before all three head to the fairgrounds where they sing together on stage.
Comments: Beautifully illustrated!
Note: Keep in mind that this book’s interpretation of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses has a different storyline. The song was about Axl Rose’s girlfriend, Erin Everly. Before I knew the original story behind the song, I always thought it was talking about a parent’s love for his child just like the illustrations do in this picture book.
My Heartby Corinna Luyken; illustrated by Corinna Luyken. 2019. Water-based inks and pencil. Published by Dial Books for Young Readers.
Brief summary: A young child shares in lyrical prose how her heart feels differently in various instances. Sometimes, it feels open; sometimes closed. No matter how it is on a certain day, she accepts it with love.
Comments: The simple wording has complex meanings that could spark a conversation of how one feels on various days or in certain situations. I would use this as a read aloud when someone’s feelings are hurt or having a bad day. This book gave several visual examples of the emotions one may have which I believe a child could relate to and figure out what is being felt.
This book’s theme explores how to accept how your heart if feeling and to remember it can be different tomorrow.
There are only three colors used: yellow, black, and white.
Loveby Matt de la Pena; illustrated by Loren Long. 2018. Collaged monotype prints, acrylic paint and pencil. Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
Brief summary: The book begins with two parents looking straight at the reader but are actually peering into a crib. They are the beginning of love. You, for a moment, are the baby seeing his/her parents for the first time. Readers journey through the book relating and recalling the various types of loves we have(or will if the reader is a child) in life through the quiet poem and illustrations.
Comments: (My resource for reviewing picture books are from my public library, so it took a while for my name to come up in the long reserve list for this book that released in January). The illustrations are diverse and multicultural with scenes from various families’ lives and times when love is displayed and shared. The concepts may be a bit mature for very young children. Older elementary students will understand and relate to those times they experienced love.
I feel this is one of those picture books adults will enjoy too, as they can relate and experience all of those situations when love was experienced–in good times and bad. I believe this will be a good “going-off-to-college” or graduation gift as the ending talks about leaving the family but having love on the new journey.
I am including this book trailer where both author and illustrator beautifully share their ideas for this book.
Early Sunday Morningby Denene Millner; illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton. 2017. Published by Agate Bolden This is the first of a new series by Denene Millner.
Brief Summary: June enjoys going to church every Sunday with her family but is a little nervous for the coming Sunday, as she will sing her first solo with the youth choir. Throughout the week, several people give her advice of how not to be scared. The day has come, and her mother and younger brother, Troy, get all dressed up in their finest clothes. Daddy worked an extra shift at work and will need to rest at home. June goes to Sunday school and learns about love. She puts on her white robe afterwards and is ready to sing in the children’s choir. She waits while Pastor Scott leads prayers and when it will be her turn to do her solo. Although she is nervous, June takes a deep breath and focuses on one spot in the back of the room. At that time, her father opens the church’s doors and shouts, “Sing, Baby.” June is able to sing in front of the congregation with her father beside her.
Comments: We often do not see many religious based books in elementary school libraries even though a child’s religion plays an enormous role in his/her life. This book captures how important church is in June’s life. I think while we are talking about making sure our libraries are diverse, it is important to expose students to different religions in their community to better understand and appreciate each other. This book also teaches how, although we may be afraid at times, we must move on and conquer that fear. June had the love of her father(who must have been exhausted from doing a double shift the day before) who gave up his rest to be there for his child.
(I may receive a small commission for purchases made with links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program. Books in this picture book blog are not sent to me in exchange for a review, but instead, are checked out from a public library).
Brief summary: A motherly voice in simple prose tells various children that no matter wherever you go, your mother will be loving you which can come as the sun’s beam, a winking star, or ocean’s breeze.
Comments: This is a short book for very young students. This could be read to a child before a parent has to go on a trip or even the first day of preschool when they will not be together. This is a book which could be read and studied to introduce personification examples with students. Words are on one side; illustrations on the opposite. Although this is in prose, it is not rhyming other than the first sentence.
(I may get a commission for purchases made through links in this post through the Amazon Affiliate Program. Books reviewed were checked out of the public library and not sent to me free for review).