picture book

Valentine’s Day Gems

One of the many reasons I wanted to be an elementary school teacher was so I could justify and use my vast collection of holiday themed picturebooks. Valentine’s day, as a child, was one of my favourite holidays. Spending an entire afternoon of class time designing and making Valentines seemed wonderfully frivolous. And then there was the mailbox design, agonizing over who gets which Valentine, the stealthy delivery, and the satisfaction of watching someone’s face light up when they read their own personal valentine. This mood is perfectly captured by Felicia Bond’s sweet, simple The Day it Rained Hearts.

The resourceful heroine of this story takes advantage of some odd weather and collects hearts as they fall from the sky. She studies them carefully and creates personalized Valentines for her closest friends. I don’t know how she does it, but Felicia Bond consistently produces simple, gentle, pitch perfect little stories like this one. I gave a bunch of this particular title to friends of mine a few Valentine’s days ago.  

But as you get older, somewhere along the line,Valentines day becomes less fun and more stressful, particularly if you have no one “special” to share it with. Personally, this has never bothered me. I still like to give friends Valentines, although admittedly, they are not nearly so elaborate as my childhood creations.  For those who are somewhat suspicious of the whole day, may I present to you Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch!

Mr. Hatch is a lonely creature of routine, doing the same things, day after day. It never occurs to him that there could be more to life until he receives a box of chocolates from a mysterious stranger. Who is his secret admirer? Now everyone Mr. Hatch meets is a potential friend and admirer. It is a marvelous way to look at the world, until the mailman admits he delivered it by mistake. Mr. Hatch is devastated. It seems that no one loves him enough to make a special gesture, or do they? This book has been known to make grown adults cry. More than just a seasonal book, Eileen Spinelli and Paul Yalowitz have created a thoughtful piece on friendship and kindness.

So this Valentine’s day forego the standard chocolate and think about giving one of these heartwarming gems to your sweetheart. The gesture will be much appreciated.

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