Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

While everyone hopes for a wonderful celebration of Valentine's Day whether it be a romantic dinner out with a special someone or the joyful exchange of cards at a classroom party, it is doubtful that you will find many Valentine's related books to share with your children. The reading of romance novels is one option for older readers, but finding picture books that address Valentine's Day in any but the most saccharin manner is a difficult task.

A trip to the local bookstore yesterday suggested that they, too, were struggling to find anything worthy of a good display. Most of their books were about kisses for parents or hearts for someone else. Not much depth or plot was shown in any of them, though they may inspire a good exchange of hugs and kisses as part of the bedtime story ritual.

The one Valentine picture book that I have found that I am willing to read more than a couple of times is Love, Splat by Rob Scotton. Splat, as many of you already know, is a lovable but shy cat. In this book, he has his eye on a lovely, fluffy white cat as the one who should be the recipient of his one homemade Valentine's card. Unfortunately, a big, burly, something-of-a-bully cat has the same idea and gets his card to Kitten first. Who will Kitten choose, Splat or Spike? The story is one of good over the less well intentioned and as such is enjoyable and filled with just enough conflict to keep the interest of readers and listeners aged four to seven or so. As with all of Scotton's books, it is the illustrations that steal the show. It is impossible to resist the friendly, soft cats who inhabit this and all of the other Splat books.

Use Valentine's Day to snuggle up with that favorite young person, but don't dwell on finding a book that directly addresses the topic at hand. It is just not worth the effort.


Linda's Library Corner said...

Dear Linda,
While was a school librarian I did find two great Valentine's Day books.
In the beginning of February I read Valentine Bears by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Jan Brett to the second graders. It is a short book with only 2 characters. Mrs. Bear decided that she would celebrate Valentine's Day with Mr. Bear. Before she goes to sleep to hibernate for the winter she sets her alarm for February 14th. After I finished the story I would ask the students who are the characters in this
book. Then, I would ask the students what are book characters? Then, I would lead a discussion about who are their favorite book characters? It could be Arthur or D.W. from the Arthur series by Marc Brown Jack and Annie from the Magic Tree House book Kermit from Bill Peet's Kermit the Hermit
the Cat in the Hat
Harry Potter
Nate the Great
Then, I would talk about my favorite book character Charlotte from Charlotte's Web. I would show the students a large red heart with Charlotte's name in black crayon and a drawing of a web and Charlotte. Then, I would give the directions. Please write on red, pink construction or white drawing paper (good quality) who your favorite book character is. (The hearts would be copied on to the paper). Please write your favorite book character in pencil first. Then, outline it in a darker color if you are using red or pink. We would discuss why we use pencil, first and what are dark colors. I would tell the students I will help you with spelling. Also I will tell the students to do their best work because this would be going to be on the bulletin board outside of the library. After the papers are passed out. I would monitor the students' work.
For the bulletin board I made a large circle with printing with marker, Favorite Book Characters We Love. I found beautiful red, white and blue lace that I would staple under the circle. You could also use small heart decorations. Then, I would staple the hearts on to the bulletin board. It was always fun to see the students' favorite book characters.
For first graders I read Bee my Valentine by Lillian Hoban.
I found the perfect coloring page for this book.

Linda said...

Thanks, Linda of Linda's Library Corner. That is a great idea. I will try to find the book and use it next year.