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10 Valentine Friends by Janet Schulman

10 Valentine Friends

by Janet Schulman

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[I almost never do holiday book posts, but I wanted to revise this review covering Valentine's Day-themed board books that I wrote a few years ago, so here you go.]

Two of the four books I am reviewing today are specifically holiday-themed and the other two are more generically "love" themed. I will say, first of all, that Valentine's Day is not a holiday I particularly like (I don't really like any holidays, to be honest) but the crafts are easy - lots of pink paper and glitter and both kids and parents are happy. Despite my own feelings, we do Valentine's programs every year if only so that people can't remind me, yet again, of the year I did a snake-themed storytime.

So, we begin with 10 Valentine Friends, a counting book. This is a tried and true formula from author Janet Schulman and illustrator Linda Davick. They also have a Halloween, Christmas and Easter book in the same format. Bland rhymes and flat, digital pictures walk the reader through Valentines for each child in the story. A separate space on the side of each page shows the cards made so far. It's easy to count, strongly holiday-themed, and boring. However, there aren't too many Valentine's Day books, parents ask for them, and they like the counting aspect. A book doesn't have to be amazing to be a successfully circulating title and this one will definitely go out every Valentine's Day. I'm fine with adding this to the holiday collection, but this is a book that I do not see a use for as a board book. The children pictured are much older than a board book audience and the story and counting are too complex for babies and toddlers, let alone the Valentines concept.

Next, we have Duck and Goose: Goose Needs a Hug. This is Tad Hills' very successful board book line with simple concepts illustrated by his cheery team of little birds. In this title, Goose is feeling sad and his friends keep trying to cheer him up. Finally, they take the time to listen to what he wants and find out that he just needs a hug. This would make a nice, non-romantic Valentine's Day read for even the youngest ones in storytime and Hills is expert at including just the right amount of text for young listeners. This is a definite must to add to your board book collection.

Sweet Dreams Lullaby is one of the lovelier bedtime board books I've seen, with sweet little rhymes and glowing pictures. A little bunny is inspired by the parent bunny to cuddle up in bed and "dream of water-lily beds/where baby peepers rest their heads./a daddy frog sings low and deep,/lulling all the pond to sleep." Each spread features a different verse about a different aspect of nature, including sunny days, clouds and sky, night sky, stars, etc. The pictures are my favorite part of this sweet little board book, with softly glowing pastels and cute, happy faces. I'm not really 100% behind this as a board book, since I feel the rhyming text is too long for most children aged two and under, which is who I buy board books for; however it's also available as a hardcover picture book. This would make a nice Valentine's Day present or a sweet read for an evening storytime.

Finally, Tweet Hearts is what I'd think of as a novelty book. It's a counting book, counting little hearts doing silly things, with a final spread that pops out a thin cardboard heart saying "I love you." The pictures are cute and parents will like this one, but it's not something I'd recommend to a library. The hearts are hard to differentiate from the illustrations, especially for a young audience. In one spread there are bubbles and heart-shaped bubbles, in another heart-shaped balloons and clouds. Older children would have no problem with this, but I can't see a reason to be reading this very small board book to an older child. The pop-out heart at the end will last about 30 seconds on the regular board book shelf.

Verdict: I highly recommend Goose needs a hug in board book format. I suggest purchasing Sweet Dreams Lullaby and 10 Valentine Friends as hardcover picture books. Give Tweet Hearts a miss.

10 Valentine Friends: A holiday counting book by Janet Schulman, illustrated by Linda Davick
ISBN: 9780375871306; This edition published 2012 by Alfred A. Knopf/Random House; Review copy provided by the publisher; Donated to the library

Duck & Goose: Goose needs a hug by Tad Hills
ISBN: 9780307982933; Published 2012 by Schwartz & Wade/Random House; Review copy provided by the publisher; Donated to the library

Sweet Dreams Lullaby by Betsy Snyder
ISBN: 9780307980601; This edition published 2012 by Random House; Review copy provided by the publisher; Donated to the library

Tweet Hearts by Susan Reagan
ISBN: 9780307931535; Published 2012 by Robin Corey/Random House; Review copy provided by the publisher; Donated to the prize box
  JeanLittleLibrary | Feb 16, 2013 |
not as good as some others
  mahallett | Apr 9, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375869670, Hardcover)

It's Valentine's Day and the 10 little neighbors in this book are busy making Valentines for their closest friends.

A dinosaur card, thinks little Pete,
My pal Max would find really neat.

Will everyone get a Valentine at the big Valentine's Day party? You can count on it!

With its fun counting element, bouncy text, and adorable illustrations, this book is the perfect gift for young lovebugs.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:50 -0400)

Ten friends make and exchange valentine cards in this rhyming counting book.

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