Friday, February 10, 2017

PPBF: Valentine's Edition

In Lieu of Perfect Picture Book Friday, Susanna Leonard Hill is holding her Second Annual Valentiny Writing Contest.

While you're digging
into that box of chocolates,
why not dig into some of these
LOVE-ly books.

The original Guess How Much I Love You
Guess How Much I Love You
Written by Sam McBratney
Illustrated by Anita Jeram

Candlewick, 1994
Preschool+, 690L, 400 words

Like many others, I have loved this book since its debut, and have shared it with those I love. Choose the first edition, a sequel, or the new diorama pop-up version to love as high as you can reach. Need more nutbrown hares? Candlewick has shared a peek behind-the-scenes of its creation.

Little Nutbrown Hare, who was going to bed, held on tight to Big Nutbrown Hare's very long ears. He wanted to be sure that Big Nutbrown Hare was listening. "Guess how much I love you?" he said.

Aida, by Leontyne Price and Leo and Diane Dillon
Told by Leontyne Price
Illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon

Clarion, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1990
Ages 8+, 730L, 2900 words

This retelling of Verdi's classic opera is beautiful in all its facets. Though this is a tragic love story, I think it's one well worth sharing.

"Long ago, in the faraway land of Ethiopia, there lived a Princess named Aida. She was fair as the sunrise and gentle as starlight touching a flower. Her father, King Amonasro, loved her dearly."

Mr. Potter's Pet, illustrated by Mark Teague
Mr. Potter's Pet
Written by Dick King-Smith

Disney-Hyperion, 1996
Ages 8+, 128 pp

Dick King-Smith has a knack for writing fiction kids love. The writing is cozy, old-fashioned. He often breaks the rules, in this case, the protagonist is a bumbling older gentleman. But the story of this man and his bird is hilarious and heartwarming. We love his books for car trips and fireside read-alouds.

 "Ever since he was a small boy, Mr. Potter had a prot was not a medical problem, for he enjoyed excellent health. Nor was it a matter of money, for he had never felt the lack of it. Nor did he ever fall out with the neighbors or fall afoul of the law.
       What Mr. Potter suffered from was an addiction.
       Not to cigarettes—he didn't smoke; nor to alcohol—he didn't drink; nor to food—for though he had a good appetite, he was not greedy. Mr. Potter's addiction was not at all a usual one, and I doubt you would ever guess what it was. So I'll tell you.
       Mr. Potter had never been able to stop himself from looking into the windows of pet shops."

Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli
Written by Jerry Spinelli

Alfred A. Knopf, 2000
Ages 12+, 590L, 208 pp

Stargirl is a great boy-meets-girl tale. She has a style all her own. Think Luna Lovegood. Leo falls for her, and so will you. Read it? Try the sequel, Love, Stargirl.

       When I was little, my Uncle Pete had a necktie with a porcupine painted on it. I thought that necktie was just about the neatest ting in the world. Uncle Pete would stand patiently before me while I ran my fingers over the silky surface, half expecting to be stuck by one of the quills. Once, he let me wear it. I kept looking for one of my own. But I could never find one.
       I was twelve when we moved from Pennsylvania to Arizona. When Uncle Pete came to say good-bye, he was wearing the tie. I thought he did so to give me one last look at it, and I was grateful. But then, with a dramatic flourish, he whipped off the tie and draped it around my neck.
       “It’s yours,” he said. “Going-away present.”
       I loved that porcupine tie so much that I decided to start a collection. Two years after we settled in Arizona, the number of ties in my collection was still one. Where do you find a porcupine necktie in Mica, Arizona-or anywhere else, for that matter?
       On my fourteenth birthday, I read about myself in the local newspaper. The family section ran a regular feature about kids on their birthdays, and my mother had called in some info. The last sentence read: “As a hobby, Leo Borlock collects porcupine neckties.”
       Several days later, coming home from school, I found a plastic bag on our front step. Inside was a gift-wrapped package tied with yellow ribbon. The tag said “Happy Birthday!” I opened the package. It was a porcupine necktie. Two porcupines were tossing darts with their quills, while a third was picking its teeth.
       I inspected the box, the tag, the paper. Nowhere could I find the giver’s name. I asked my parents. I asked my friends. I called my uncle Pete. Everyone denied knowing anything about it. 
       At the time I simply considered the episode a mystery. It did not occur to me that I was being watched. We were all being watched.

Cyrano, 2006
Cover by Greg Swearingen
Told by Geraldine McCaughrean

Harcourt Children's Books, 2006
Ages 12+, 830L, 114pp

Cyrano, a prose version of Rostand's Cyrano De Bergerac, will have you laughing and crying. Try the audiobook version from Full Cast Audio. My kids fight over it.

As bookish as I am, I'm not opposed to a night in front of the television.
May I recommend some romantic films based on books?

Disney's version of The Princess Diaries, 2001
Meg Cabot's The Princess Diaries has been made into a sweet, funny RomCom that's nothing like the book, in my opinion. But I love the bittersweet romance between Anne Hathaway and Robert Schwartzman, and, well, the film features Julie Andrews! She's practically perfect in every way, right?

BBC Wives and Daughters, 1999
And once the little ones go to bed, pop in the DVD of Wives and Daughters. Super sigh! Based on the book by Elizabeth Gaskell, this awesome miniseries is perfect for Valentine's Day. Besides, the performances by Michael Gambon and Francesca Annis are not to be missed.

Check out these and other Perfect Picture books at your local library.

Reviewed by Julie

Reviewed by Barbara

Reviewed by Erik
Reviewed by Joanne

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

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