February African American History Month
February 1, 2016
Candace Hardy (22 articles)

February African American History Month

I’m starting this month, featuring stories honoring African Americans, both fictional and real-life heroes.

But let’s begin with some wonderful “heartfelt” picture books for the Itty Bitty Kitties. Mewly Reading Kitties will enjoy the repetitive phrases and likely wish to join in.

I Love You Already by Jory John and Benji Davies

Not really a Valentine’s Day book but a sweet story of the love between friends. Bear would like nothing better than a day to himself; a weekend day to be lazy and lounge around the house. When Duck see’s that Bear is home, he has other plans for his large furry friend. He insists that Bear join him for a walk, then stop for an ice pop (which Bear would need to pay for). When Bear is less than enthusiastic, Duck says, “But I just want you to like me, Bear”. To which Bear responds, “I like you already!”

A great “read to me” story for the Itty Bitty Kitty. Mewly Reading Kitties will enjoy the repetitive phrases and read along.

Illustrator Benji Davies has nailed the characters with animated movement, bright colors and hilarious facial expressions. I give this 5 catnips for humor alone.







Be My Valentine, Amelia Bedelia  by Herman Parish  Illustrations by Lynn Sweat

Slightly ditzy Amelia Bedelia, the madcap maid we’ve come to love over the years has lost her guest list and has no idea whom to invite to Mrs. Roger’s Valentine party. True to form, her big heart and slightly skewed understanding of valentines’ greetings save the day. She uses the valentine’s greetings (think conversation hearts candies) such as “I have a crush on you”  and “you stole my heart” to locate just the right people to invite to the party. “I’m stuck on you” earns and an invitation to a little boy who is stuck in bubble gum, “are you my sweetie pie” gets an invitation to the local baker and “don’t break my heart” of course goes to the doctor. The youngest readers will love joining Amelia as she meanders through the town distributing the valentines to just the right people.

Bright pictures and a clever foldout on alternating pages, earn this charmer 5 catnips.





Arthur’s Valentine by Marc Brown

Arthur has a secret admirer. Days before Valentine’s Day, he’s getting cards. He’s hoping it’s the new girl, Sue Ellen. So while his friends are busily making Valentine’s Day boxes for their cards, Arthur is working on a special card for Sue Ellen. Meanwhile, the cards from the secret admirer are mounting up. Arthur tucks them into his coat. When the cards fall out in front of his friends, he is mercilessly teased with that awful rhyme, “kissing in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.”

He desperately wants to miss the party and  hopes he is too sick to go to school. Worst of all Sue Ellen asks who sent her the “mushy” card and everyone finds out it’s Arthur.

I’m a huge fan of anthropomorphism particularly for young readers and the Arthur Books illustrations never fail to delight. For fun, check out the WIKI page for Arthur http://arthur.wikia.com/wiki/Francine_Frensky, this page dedicated to his friend Francine, whom it turns out is his secret admirer. The ending is delightful and perfect Valentine sentiment for young Smitten Kittens. Again 5 catnips for Marc Brown’s Arthur’s Valentine

Candace Hardy