Winter Wonders, Scripture Stories

Feb. 12 issue children's book picks: winter, Valentine's Day and Scripture reads.

(photo: Shutterstock)

The winter is a perfect time for kids to sip cocoa and nestle up with their favorite reads. Here are some suggestions that make for a wintry mix of titles for this time of year: a few books set in the chilly, winter weather, a few to celebrate St. Valentine’s Day, and a couple of timeless titles to warm children’s spiritual hearts, too.

I Am Small

Written and illustrated by Emma Dodd

Scholastic, 2010

22 pages, $8.99

A baby penguin looks around and sees that he is very small compared to the big, fast-paced world around him. In his littleness, he notices that crowds are large, winds are cold, oceans are deep, and mountains are steep. But he doesn’t mind — because he knows that he is always loved and kept safe by his mother. The poetic words will send a reassuring message to little ones finding their way in a big world. Soft, snowy illustrations, with touches of shiny silver, convey an icy, wintry feel. Ages 1-5.

Chilly Milly Moo

Written and illustrated by Fiona Ross

Candlewick, 2011

32 pages, $15.99

Milly Moo is a sad cow. All summer long she tries to make creamy milk but simply can’t. The other cows snicker when she exclaims, “It’s too hot for me to make milk!” Nobody’s laughing when the first winter storm rolls into the farm, however. It turns out that Milly really loves the cold. The deep freeze brings out the best in her, as she churns out buckets of delicious, yummy ice cream! The silly, chilly tale sends a message that everyone has a special talent. Ages 4-8.

One Heart: A


Counting Book

Written and illustrated by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Scholastic, 2009

24 pages, $4.99

“1 heart in my pocket. It’s special and red. / 2 hearts for my parents. I jump on their bed.” Told in joyful, rhyming couplets, this counting book tells the story of a little girl who can hardly contain her excitement over St. Valentine’s Day. She distributes Valentine cards to those she loves — one, two, three … even 10 at a time. A great book for children who are heading out to their first Valentine’s Day parties at school or church. Ages 3-8.

The Great

Valentine’s Day Mix-Up

Written by Price Stern Sloan

Illustrated by Saxton Moore

Penguin, 2009

14 pages, $6.99

Everyone is excited about the class Valentine’s Day party: “Hooray for today! Katie said to Miss Sue./ We get to eat candy, and trade valentines, too!”/ The classroom was covered with red paper hearts,/ and a table of goodies was filled up with tarts!” Trouble starts brewing when a gust of wind blows through the class and mixes up all of the Valentine cards. How will they all get back to their rightful owners? Readers can help make this happen by decoding a series of secret messages on six separate valentines. Codes and directions are provided for this interactive reading activity. Ages 4-8.


Written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells

Viking, 2010

10 pages, $5.99

Baby bunny loves all the important bunnies in her life — the ones who watch over her and care for her every need. This rugged board book introduces the concept of love in less than 50 words. Charming illustrations will delight parents and children alike. Just right for the youngest readers. Ages 1-4.

The Beautiful Story of Jesus

Written and illustrated by Maïte Roche

Pauline, 2010

64 pages, $15.95

The story of Jesus is told from womb to tomb and beyond in this wonderful introduction to the New Testament. The text opens with the Annunciation and presents a series of short stories from Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, culminating in the establishment of the Church at Pentecost. Each story is accompanied by a vivid double-page spread illustration that brings these Gospel scenes to life. Originally published in France, the beautiful, inviting illustrations have a European flavor. Ages 5 and up.

My Storytime Bible

Written by Renita Boyle

Illustrated by Melanie Florian

Pauline, 2011

141 pages, $15.95

Stories from both the Old and New Testaments are presented in this collection of kid-friendly Bible stories. Each two-page story is introduced with a clever title, a scriptural reference, and an interactive question to guide children’s understanding of the passage.

Lovely, detailed illustrations enhance each story. Although the approachable language and pictures make this a great choice for independent readers, the thoughtful questions that introduce each piece make it a good read-and-talk-together piece for families. Ages 4-10.

The Crawford sisters write from Pittsburgh.