Valentine’s Day is coming! That means cards and candy, right?
Or you could go another route, with books that highlight the spreading of love and joy in a simple, childlike way. These two do just that.
Plant a Kiss
Amy Krouse Rosenthal
ISBN: 978 0 06 198675 8
Amy Krouse Rosenthal is a master of deceptively simple little books with lovely messages – as is Peter Reynolds, her illustrator here. The pair is a dream team for this kind of book, which could well nto work in less skilled hands, for it relies on few words, rhyming, that tell a little inspirational tale.
Tale about what? A little miss who plants a kiss. And lo and behold, it grows, and she chooses to share it, against advice from some others, who think it’s too precious. When she is done spreading the magic of the kiss and her bowl is empty, she returns to her garden to discover that her kiss “plant” has only multiplied, and she can go on sharing the joy of it endlessly.
(adapted by) Cedella Marley
ISBN: 978 1 4521 0224 5
This book is an adaptation of Bob Marley’s iconic song of the same title. This mgiht be sacrilege in the hands of the wrong person, but the author is Marley’s oldest daughter, and a member of the Melody Makers, so this feels more like a way to introduce the spirit of love and joy in the song to a younger audience. (In fact, she talks about her father and his song in a very nice end note, as well.)
A young girl wakes up and, walking her dog from her room outside and through the wider world, she sees examples of different kinds of love all around her in families, nature, and communities. The neighbourhood and those in it are nicely varied without it seeming pointed, and the community gardening project that is taking place during the book is realistic for the right neighbourhood. The sense of joy and working together in the book is really lovely, and nearly contagious once you start looking at it closely.
The illustrations here are jaunty, fun, and full of smiles, without being in any way soft or saccharine, something I never find appealing. Here’s a nice spread of the neighbourhood park space before the makeover happens: