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Spring into books to love

Love is in the Air

Valentine’s Day may have been and gone for the year but that does not stop us from sharing our love with those closest to us, and those to whom we are close but who are far away.

Dare I recommend a book or two to share with all these people, be they child or adult there is quite certain to be something you can send them that will express in words and pictures just how much they mean to you, and unlike Valentine’s which is only on one day of the year, these books will last all year, year in and year out, treasured gems on a bookshelf, always a reminder of just how much one is loved. Plus they are full of great stories too.

So what are these books that I would like to share with you in order that you in turn can share them?

The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling by Timothy Basil Ering, (Walker Books). The cracking egg on the cover, in its nest of straw, the watercolour rushes on the first set of end pages, these gentle hints only suggest the story that is about to unfold before our eyes. Captain Alfred is heading home to his wife, he has new ducks for his farm and a special present for his wife. But then an unexpected storm hits the boat and after the silence there is Alfred and a fiddle. Can the little duckling be brave? Can he reach is new home? Is his story the end or just a new beginning? Delight in the charming story, the gorgeous watercolour illustration and the power of love to transform even the worst situation into the best.

Everyone knows, or at least I imagine they do, Guess How Much I Love You written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram (Walker Books) but if you have not yet had the pleasure of this book then now is as good a time as any to discover it for along with a charming newly formatted board book there is also a colouring book packed with enchanting pictures to colour and decorate, a few words dotted throughout the book bring the pages to life and act as suggestions for the colouring that could be done. Then there are the 125+ stickers that can be used to great effect. Here is a little package suited to even the big ones in your life!

Love is also about caring and sharing hugs and so it is that from Words & Pictures the perfectly adorable Hug Me Please! written and translated by Przemyslaw Wechterowicz and illustrated by Emilia Dziubak is perfect. After daddy bear explains to baby bear how important hugs are there is no stopping him but hugging all the forest creatures may mean someone has been forgotten … The perfect book for any time you need a hug, feel its warmth envelop you as you read.

This one is for children and adults alike and whilst the next may be a little more grown up there is no stopping anyone of any age benefitting from its delights. This is of course Chris Riddell’s 100 Hugs (Macmillan Children’s Books) a collection of yes, you guessed it, 100 hugs showing that love can come from friends and family, animals and even aliens! There are familiar faces, strange faces, amazing illustrations and above all else plenty of hugs, love and warmth.

Care Bears are a set of characters I remember from when I was growing up and it seems they are back, if indeed they really went away! Their Hearts ‘n’ Hugs Sticker Activity Book (Hodder & Stoughton) is certain to be a hit with little ones as they delight in the pictures and adding their own decorations. Follow the directions in the book to complete the activities and ensure hours of fun are had alone or with friends and family – just remember this is all about loving and being loved so sharing is ideal.

I love a pop-up book, they are a delight and a wonder to behold, the paper engineering always astounds me with its intricate detail. I Love You Nearly Always by Anna Llenas (Templar) is a complete delight to behold. Not only is the story, and the illustration vivid, quirky and fun, it is also packed full of pop-ups, so much so that it really is easy to be completely take by surprise each time you turn a page. The story, of Roly and Rita is the story of being different but alike, about liking one another because of difference and about learning how being different can sometimes be a challenge but one that should be celebrated. The pop-ups encourage lots of interaction and will ensure that this book is treasured whilst being enjoyed for many years to come.

A few other books that should not be missed in a quick round-up of books celebrating love are This is the Kiss by Claire Harcup and Gabriel Alborozo (Walker Books), a warm and caring book about snuggling up with loved ones and a story that helps children to learn there are always sweet dreams awaiting those tired bedtimes.

Baby Touch and Feel. I Love You published by Dorling Kindersley is a charming board book, ideal for the smallest hands to hold and bigger ones to read. With its touchy-feely elements for little fingers to explore this book stimulates, encourages language, promotes reading and invites readers in for sharing time.

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