It’s February!! Time to celebrate love and friendship!! While February 14th is Valentine’s Day here in the United States in many of the Hispanic countries I’ve visited the day is called “El Día del Amor y Amistad” or “The Day of Love and Friendship.” I love this more inclusive take on the holiday since I’m sure we’ve all experienced the disappointment of not having a special someone on the big day.
What better way to celebrate the month of February than with picture books about love and friendship. Our four favorites for the month of February feature everything from the courage it takes to make a new friend, to the fear of losing a friend, to being too busy for friendship. We hope you’ll enjoy these as much as you would a big heart-shaped box of chocolates!
by Marcie Colleen; illustrated by Bob Shea
Circle and Square have been best friends since they were a speck and a dot. Then Triangle comes along with his bold, exciting personality, and suddenly, a wedge comes between them. Both Circle and Square try to impress cool Triangle in humorous ways — (Square cuts his sandwich into triangles and Circle wears a triangular party hat!) But will they be able to salvage their own friendship that’s already bent out of shape?
The text feels super-relatable to me as most of us at some point experience the feeling of a friendship being threatened, whether in reality or in our own minds. Children will relate to the intensity of those emotions as they explore the fact that perhaps a good friendship is strong enough to become a trio instead of a duo. Readers will love the funny geometric puns throughout the story.
Bird, Balloon, Bear
by Il Sung Na
This beautifully illustrated book is a tale of friendship. Bird is longing for a friend, but just when he gets the courage to say hello, Bear finds another unlikely friend. Bird watches from the wings, wishing he could be part of the fun until Bear’s friend gets carried away – literally. Bird tries to save the day and ends up finding the friend he longed for. This is a great reader for any child who’s ever longed for friendship or worried about being the third-wheel in a friendship.
by Lisa Moser
Perfect Soup is a cumulative or chain tale – a story whose action or dialogue repeats and builds as the story progresses. Chain tales are great for young audiences and readers because they depend on rhythm and repetition. One familiar example of a chain tale is “The Gingerbread Man.” As a storyteller, I’ve come across quite a few examples of this type of story. Two of my favorites are The Stonecutter and The Bossy Gallito.
In this tale, Murray the mouse is in a hurry to find a carrot, the only ingredient he lacks for his Perfect Soup. When he asks Farmer for the crunchy vegetable, Farmer agrees to give him one if Murray will haul some logs he needs to build his barn. Clearly too small for the task, Murray sets out to find help. He asks Horse who agrees to do it for a set of jingle bells. Murray hurries along to find the jingle bells only to find that the shopkeeper will give them to him if he does another task – and so the chain goes. Murray is so busy trying to accomplish his tasks that he fails to notice Snowman who wants to play with him. By the end of the chain, Murray learns that imperfect soup shared with a friend is better than perfect soup without one. This little winter tale is perfection in my opinion.
The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR!
By Rob Biddulph
Each year Fred the grizzly bear wins the annual bear competition with his superior fish catching, hula-hooping and loud GRRRRR! He’s so focused on becoming the champion that he doesn’t have time to have friends. But this year there’s a new bear in town, Boris, who could be tough to beat. On the morning of the competition, Fred awakes to find that his GRRRRR! is missing. Could Boris have taken it? More importantly, how will he win without it? Fred enlists a crew of woodland animals help him search and in the end learns that friendship is more valuable than any trophy. I love the way this story emphasizes the fact that there’s more to life than winning.