Duck and Hippo: The Secret Valentine (Jonathan London)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Duck and Hippo: The Secret Valentine, written by Jonathan London and illustrated by Andrew Joyner, the latest in the delightful Duck and Hippo series.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, Duck is a little bummed to realize that she doesn’t have a valentine of her own – but that quickly transitions into a fun idea! Stealthily sneaking around town, she leaves anonymous invitations for her best friends – Hippo, Turtle, Pig, and Elephant – to meet their secret Valentine in the park at 4 o’clock. The friends are delighted and excitedly prepare to meet up. When they all arrive, however, they are surprised to see each other, and no one else waiting! They puzzle for a moment until Duck appears, presenting them with a picnic and some good company – after all, the best Valentines are friends!

Very cute! All the hallmarks of the previous Duck and Hippo books are back, from the innocent, playful storyline and dialogue to Joyner’s classic storybook-inspired illustrations. There’s an odd moment in which the reader gets the sense of Pig being slightly catfished by her “secret admirer” – she sings “I’m so in looooove!” as she prepares for the meetup – but otherwise the story is gentle, and sends a nice message about the importance of appreciating our friendships. The length was great, and JJ loved it – Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this books was provided the The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the author in exchange for an honest review.)

Here Comes Valentine Cat (Deborah Underwood)

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! We spent the day playing with friends and reading a hilariously sweet book: Here Comes Valentine Cat, written by Deborah Underwood and illustrated by Claudia Rueda.

Like the other books in the Here Comes Cat series, this fourth-wall breaking story has the reader in conversation was a rather sassy cat. Cat is not excited about Valentine’s Day, and he doesn’t want to make any valentines, especially for the annoying dog who just moved in next door. The dog who howls all day, throws bones in Cat’s yard, and even threw a ball and hit Cat in the head! But things are not always what they appear, and Cat may find that the best Valentine’s gift of all is to be a good friend.

This was our second Here Comes Cat book, and it was just as enjoyable as the last! The page-by-page “conversation” with Cat is a blast to read, and his reaction illustrations are hilarious, snarky, and adorable. I especially loved that this one had a great moral to the story: sometimes we can mistake the actions of others, and if we look at things from their perspective, we can better understand them. The length is great, just be prepared for a lot of page-flipping because of the way the book is laid out (not a problem for JJ, who LOVES turning pages). Also, clearly, this baby bookworm loved Cat and his antics. A hilarious and charming Valentine’s Day book that all ages can enjoy, and we recommend it! Baby Bookworm approved!