Heart Books for Valentine's Day


In My Heart: A Book of Feelings

By Jo Witek, illustrated by Christine Roussey

(Abrams Appleseed; $16.95; ages 2-4)

It would not work as an anatomy book, but In My Heart: A Book of Feelings helps young people identify points on the emotional spectrum. Example: “When I get really angry, my heart feels as if it’s going to explode!” Surrounding the cutout heart in the middle of this “I’m mad” page is the word “Boom!” and the graphic of an orange explosion, the result of a TNT detonation by the cartoon narrator, a red-cheeked little girl with hair ribbons. On the next page, the image of a calm turquoise balloon accompanies the thought, “But other times, my heart is cool. I bob along gently like a balloon on 
a string.” The cutout hearts in the middle of each page are visible from the cover, cascading in diminishing size and a rainbow of colors through to the bottom of the book. From the front, it looks like the perfect valentine — one that gives words to the whole range of feelings that swell and shrink in (or near) the heart. 

Paper Blossoms, Butterflies & Birds: A Book of Beautiful Bouquets for the Table

By Ray Marshall

(Chronicle; $40; all ages)

Ray Marshall’s Paper Blossoms, Butterflies & Birds: A Book of Beautiful Bouquets for the Table takes care of Valentine’s Day flowers for at least the next four years. No doubt that was not the intent of the book, a sequel to the author’s previous book of cutout flowers. This one adds birds and butterflies to the four elaborate popups of tulips, orchids and mixed blossoms that actually could decorate a table. With straps on the cover to hold down the pages, the book is well-designed as both visual centerpiece and conversation piece. The bouquets may not be the equal of nature’s own, but they have a certain charm that shows off the creator’s engineering and aesthetic talents. 

Frank Lipsius is a contributing writer to MetroKids


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