Whether you’re love sick, or sick of love, hopefully you’ve had the pleasure of laughing, crying or sighing over some sappy sweet book, or some ridiculous tale of love and adventure. I’m the Teen Coordinator and also a veteran storyteller, so Valentine’s Day books have crossed my desk and most of them are so sappy that my appetite for chocolate leaves by page three. The most successful books for Valentine’s Day stories, in my experience, are funny unpredictable and only a little sweet. Books that subversively or subliminally infuse self confidence in a young reader are my favorite. I won’t mention my favorite YA love story here…. Please consider the following books if you want to give your Valentine’s Day a twist this year.
This list is for pre-K through Elementary!
I Loathe You written and illustrated by David Slonim If you love the Sam McBratney classic Guess How Much I Love You, it will be easy to see the humor of this book. Big Monster loathes so much about Little Monster- more than chicken pox, mosquito bites, and fuzzy mold on cheese. And this is a good thing! Monsters loathe instead of love. All of these declarations are in a couplet rhyme scheme that encourages the listener to predict the next word. The water color illustrations are adorably expressive. It’s never been so good to be loathed. (Pre-K- First Grade)
Shrek written and illustrated by William Steig Everyone is familiar with the movies, but the book flies under the radar. Shrek is a fierce, ugly, foul- breathed ogre tossed out of his home by his parents so that he may seek his fortune. He encounters a witch who predicts he will find his true love at the end of a ridiculous journey. His true love is as foul as he is. Here you will read expressions of love for the most despicable attributes imaginable. This book is delightfully gross! Watch out for one synonym for donkey early on. (second- fourth grade)
Pig’s Picnic written and illustrated by Keiko Kasza Mr. Pig asks Miss Pig out on a picnic. He’s so excited when she accepts that he tells all his animal friends about his date while en route to Miss Pig’s house. His animal friends, lion, zebra, and fox offer up their best features, their mane, stripes and tail respectively, so that their friend can look extra fancy for his picnic. Mr. Pig’s new appearance frightens Miss Pig so he runs away, and returns to her doorstep as his normal wonderful self. (pre-k – second grade)
The Frog Prince Continued written by Jon Scieszcka and illustrated by Steve Johnson Happily ever after is no picnic for the Frog Prince and his princess. They bicker like and old married couple. The princess quips “I can’t believe I ever kissed your slimy frog lips.” When she declares they were better off when the prince was still a frog, the prince runs off into the enchanted forest looking for someone who will change him back into a frog. Readers and viewers will enjoy figuring out which fairy tale witches the prince has the misfortune of meeting. (kindergarten- Fourth grade)