Feb 4, 2010

Seasonal Sensations - Valentine's Day

For those of you who enjoy boycotting this holiday, you may also need to boycott this post.

No, I
won't write the entire post in red, that's just obnoxious. Yet, I am still going to tell you about my favorite picks, both old and new, for this particular holiday. If you don't want to give them to your sweethearts, beloved friends, or family members during this month, perhaps they will come in handy some random day in the future.


I Like You by Sandol Stoddard Warburg, illustrated by Jacqueline Chwast
Hardcover: 9780395071762, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $6.95
This sweet and tender book is perfect to give to both a friend or the most loved one in your life. It's a small-format, hardcover picturebook whose tiny size packs a huge punch with its lyrical, child-like text. "I like you/And I know why/I like you because/You are a good person/To like".

A Friend is Someone Who Likes You by Joan Walsh Anglund
Hardcover: 9780152296780, Harcourt, $9.95

This old classic has been re
published for a new generation. Adorable, classic spot illustrations alternate between pen-and-ink, and color pictures, highlighting the simple, sweet, and wise text. Here's my favorite page: "A brook can be a friend in a special way. It talks to you with splashy gurgles. It cools your toes and lets you sit quietly beside it when you don't feel like speaking." Also perfect to give to a friend or romantic love.

Vintage Valentines by Vivian Robbins
Paperback: 9780375875144, Random House, $4.99
Don't miss these absolutely adorable, cheeky vintage valentines! Perfect for anyone, at any age.
My Heart is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall
Hardcover: 9780061915109, HarperCollins, $16.99
My favorite picturebook out this Valentine's season, every animal in this book is made up of hearts! Trust me on this one, it's not sappy or overdone, but saved by the bright bold colors and big shapes. Each page is a solid color, while the animals are a contrasting color. The hearts that comprise the animal shapes are varying shades of the same color, so that the entire picture is a study in shapes and shades, but all coming together in the most complimentary of ways. The sparse, rhyming text is a perfect match.
Don't miss this fun craft:
Decorate-Your-Own Wooden Heart Chest

by Melissa & Doug (toy company), $4.99

For adults:
No, I don't mean naughty things, I mean books that might pique an adult reader's interest at this time of year. And no, as much as I love Jane Austen, you won't find her here.

Best heart-breaking love story:
The Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
Paperback: 9780156029438, $14.95
To tell you about it would ruin it. You need to experience it for yourself. I'll admit it made me cry, but in the most wonderful of ways.

My new favorite heart-warming love story:
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
by Winifred Watson, preface by Henrietta Twycross-Martin
9781906462024, Persephone Books, $18
As delightful as the movie, this novel is a perfect slice-of-life look into the day of 2 women in the 1930s. Winifred Watson wrote novels for women about the lives they were currently living, and it is fascinating to read the culture of the 30s from the point-of-view of a contemporary. Miss Pettigrew is a struggling governess-turned-accidental social secretary to Miss Delysia Lafosse. The two spend the day together: Miss Lafosse juggling which of the 3 men and 3 life paths she wants to follow, Miss Pettigrew dispensing sound advice and perhaps experiencing a bit of romance herself. The day and book end with my favorite feeling –hope– for both of their happy futures.

Best book to give to a friend:
84, Charing Cross Road
by Helene Hanff
Paperback: 9780140143508, Penguin, $13
Spanning 20 years, this collection of correspondence chronicles the friendship between American author Helene Hanff and Frank Doel of British Bookstore Marks & Co., at 84, Charing Cross Road. By the end of the book, you will have fallen in love yourself with the bookstore and all of its employees, their families, their lives, joys, and sorrows. Simply delightful.

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