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10 Valentine Friends by Janet Schulman
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10 Valentine Friends

by Janet Schulman

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I have four new board books from Random House to look at today. Two are specifically holiday-themed and the others could also be used around Valentine's Day. I will say first of all that I personally think celebrating Valentine's Day is kind of pointless for small children, asides from the easiness of the crafts (lots of pink paper and glitter makes everybody happy) but parents really like this holiday and never have I been allowed to forget the year I did a snake-themed storytime instead.

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. If buying for the library, I'd purchase the hardcover, rather than the board book, although even very young children can appreciate the counting aspect.

Next, we have Duck & 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 your storytimes 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.

This 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.

This final board book 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. The hearts are hard to differentiate from the illustrations, at least 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.

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; Added 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; Added to the library

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

Tweet Hearts by Susan Reagan
ISBN: 9780307931535; Published 2012 by Robin Corey/Random House; Review copy provided by the publisher; Added to the library
  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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:50 -0400)

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

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