HuffPost blogger Devon Corneal hasn’t had the best luck trying to explain the concept of Valentine’s Day to her 5-year-old son. “All he really cares about is the candy,” she told us. But the idea of love is a little easier. “Kids are fascinated by and drawn to stories about romantic love -- even though they don’t fully understand the concept yet. My son is still convinced we’ll get married when he grows up.” To that end, Corneal has rounded up some of her new favorite children's books for Valentine’s Day this year. If you’re looking to explain why the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, or that you can’t always choose who you love, or how love can triumph even in the face of impossible odds, you’ll find the perfect story here.
'Otter and Odder: A Love Story' By James Howe
If you read only one book about love this year, let it be this one. When <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Otter-Odder-A-Love-Story/dp/076364174X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359944643&sr=8-1&keywords=odder+and+otter">Otter</a> goes looking for dinner, a most unexpected thing happens – he falls in love with a fish. Lucky for Otter, Myrtle the fish felt the same. Upon seeing Otter’s eyes, “the stirrings of her own heart -- her own tremulous fish-not-wishing-to-be-dinner heart -- awakened to something new and surprising: not only love but a future she could never have imagined.” Overcoming a nearly insurmountable obstacle, that it is the natural way of otters to eat fish, Otter and Myrtle show us all that you can live happily ever after.
'Apple Cake: A Recipe for Love' By Julie Paschkis
Much to Alfonso’s dismay, he cannot get the beautiful and brilliant Ida to pay attention to him. She’d much rather read. So Alfonso decides to bake her a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Apple-Cake-Recipe-Julie-Paschkis/dp/0547807457/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1359944718&sr=1-1&keywords=apple+cake+a+recipe+for+love">cake</a> -- gathering three perfect apples, butter from the sun, sugar from the clouds, salt from the ocean and an egg from the highest tree. He bakes his masterpiece with a dragon’s fire. It is a cake designed to win a woman’s heart -- and it does. The whimsical illustrations seem to move on the page as you follow Alfonso’s quest -- until you find Ida and Alfonso together at last.
'Jonathan & Martha' By Petr Horacek
Two lonely worms, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=jonathan+%26+martha">Jonathan and Martha</a> live their lives apart, until they meet in the center of a pear. It is not love at first sight. Despite their loneliness, they fight themselves into a knot -- literally. Their forced togetherness eventually leads to a happy ending -- wedding cake and all.
'Love, Splat' By Rob Scotton
Once again, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Love-Splat-Rob-Scotton/dp/0545232538/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1359949378&sr=1-1&keywords=love%2C+splat">Splat</a> takes on a big scary part of school -- the Valentine’s Day card exchange. This book captures the “pit in your stomach” feeling I used to get when I had to pick just the right card for that special someone, but also gives Splat the perfect Valentine’s day ending.
'Bear in Love' By Daniel Pinkwater
When Bear starts finding carrots outside his cave, he sets out on a search to find out who is leaving him such delicious treats. When he can’t, he leaves his unknown gift giver some honey in return. Thus starts an exchange of heartfelt gifts between Bear and his secret admirer. Will they ever meet? You’ll have to read to find out.
'Olive and the Big Secret' By Tor Freeman
Remember when you had a crush on someone and you told your best friend and swore her to secrecy? And then she told someone who told someone who told someone? That’s exactly what happens to Molly the rabbit when she shares a secret with her friend <a href="http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_17?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=olive+and+the+big+secret&sprefix=olive+and+the+big%2Cstripbooks%2C282">Olive</a>. This story will pull you back to the days of schoolyard crushes but also help teach your kids the importance of keeping a friend’s confidence.
More Great Reads:
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/12/january-2013-childrens-books_n_2463557.html#slide=1952272">This Month's Children's And Young Adult Book Recommendations: January 2013 </a> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/julie-handler/50-inspiring-childrens-books-with-positive-message_b_1557914.html">50 Inspiring Children's Books with a Positive Message</a> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/devon-corneal/books-for-kids-who-dont-fit-in_b_1313507.html">Best Books For Kids Who Don't Quite Fit In</a> <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/03/february-2013-childrens-books-_n_2593679.html">This Month's Children's And Young Adult Book Recommendations: February 2013 </a>