Picture Book Love Stories

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Picture Book Love Stories

For children and grownups alike

The following books were written for children but can be enjoyed equally by adults, who might appreciate the deeper meanings within the pages.

For anyone who has been in love, they will tell a familiar story. Perhaps the plot will even remind you of your relationship with your significant other. The books explain love in a way that’s plain enough for children to understand, while avoiding shallowness. Love is simple, and these books get right to the point.

Enjoy the following list of romantic children's picture books, whether you are young or old. You may discover, like I have, that everything that needs to be said about love can be said with children’s books.

Sophie and Lou by Petra Mathers

Sophie is a very shy mouse. So shy, a trip to the grocery store makes her heart beat faster, and asking for a book at the Book Mobile is just not something she can bring herself to do.

Then one day, a dance studio opens up across the street from her house. She watches the dancers through her window, entranced. The next day, she works up the courage to ask the tall librarian for a book on dancing. From the comfort of her living room, Sophie practices her dance moves, until one day... a partner appears at her door.

This sweet, understated story is paired perfectly with colorful images in subdued hues, and is suitable for children ages 3-8.

Pete and Pickles by Berkeley Breathed

Pete the Pig lives a life of routine, but then one night an unexpected and strange visitor arrives: Pickles the Elephant. At first, Pete can’t believe Pickles’ ridiculous antics and hardly has the patience to put up with such tomfoolery. But to his surprise, he finds that he begins to enjoy all the silly adventures Pickles forces him to go on. This is the story of how their love blossoms and grows.

A large part of the story-telling is done through the book's vibrant, life-like pictures. Full of interesting details and recognizable emotion, the images and the story they tell will captivate readers. This book can be enjoyed by a wide range of ages, from Pre-K to fourth grade.

Forever Friends by Carin Berger

A bird and a bunny become best of friends.Their friendship lasts through spring, summer, and fall. But when spring comes, Bird must fly south. Through the months of December, January, and February, Bird and Bunny miss each other terribly. When spring arrives once more, Bird holds true to his promise and returns. Once again they can play together; after all, they are “forever friends.”

Anyone who has been in a long-distance relationship would appreciate Bird and Bunny’s love. In fact, if you are in a long distance relationship you really must read this book -- but I should warn you, it might make you cry. If reading this book with a child, it would be appropriate for children in Pre-K to 1st grade

Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon
Herman and Rosie live in New York City. Herman likes playing the oboe, the smell of hot dogs and watching films about the ocean. Rosie likes pancakes, listening to jazz records, and watching films about the ocean.
They are neighbors in adjacent apartment buildings, but they don’t know it. They both like living in the city, but sometimes it can get lonely. Sometimes, things go wrong and we just need someone who gets it. Will Herman and Rosie ever get the chance to meet in such a big place? 

This jazzy, soulful story is alive with the sights and sounds of New York City. The images do a superb job of capturing the feel of the city - the busy streets, the excitement and the possibilities. It is also available in SpanishThis book is suited for almost all ages, from Pre-K to fourth grade.

The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger
In Autumn, a lone yellow leaf clings to its branch, not yet ready to fall. Autumn passes, winter comes and the leaf still hangs on, alone... until to its surprise, it spots a lone red leaf hanging on, too. Now that they’re together falling somehow doesn’t seem as scary. “Will you?” asks one leaf to another. “I will!” says the other leaf. And one, two, three, they let go and soared. 

Obviously, much more is being told here than a story about two leaves. It would work perfectly for a couple about to embark on an adventure together (marriage, perhaps?), or for children in Pre-K to third grade. Beautiful drawings, with intricate details like stamps and newspaper clippings weave themselves throughout this whimsical story.

Side by Side by Rachel Bright
Little Mouseling, who has “sticky-out ears and a whiskerly nose,”  is looking for a friend who will stay by her side. Many creatures from Wintermouse Wood answer her call, but she can’t seem to find the right match.

Toad Flip loves doing backflips and jumps in the water, but Mouseling can’t swim. Nor can she fly with Hooty Owl, or climb with Big Squirrel Brown. Will she ever find her match?

Finally, a tiny, very shy vole answers her song. “Oh! This was her other! They’d make a great pair! If only she’d noticed - he’d always been there! And now that they’d met, there was so much to do. They could do all the things you can do as a two!”

The charming drawings will make you want to take a stroll through Wintermouse Wood yourself. 
Side by Side will be enjoyed by children in Pre-K through second grade.

Love Monster by Rachel Bright
In Cutesville, fluffy, cuddly things like bunnies and kittens get all the love. For funny-looking, googly-eyed Love Monster, life in Cutesville is tough. But he’s not one to mope about. Determined to find love of his own, he sets out to find someone who will love him for who he is. He looks high, low, middle-ish, inside and outside.

His search does not go well. In fact, after all of this fruitless searching, it gets a bit dark and scary. So Love Monster gives up and goes home. But sometimes, when you least expect it, everything changes. Love finds you.

Rachel Bright makes it clear what her inspiration was for this delightful story in her dedication: "For the monsters who’ve found me (& one slightly hair one in particular)."
Children ages 2-5 and their grownups will enjoy the story and its bright, colorful pictures of adorably awkward-looking monsters.

George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two Best Friends by James Marshall
George and Martha is a series by James Marshall about two hippos who are best friends. They do lots of things together, like go on picnics, visit the beach, and read books together. They don’t always agree on everything. They play jokes on each other and get in fights, but they always work it out.

In The Surprise, George plays a trick on Martha for which she gives him the silent treatment. Later, she hears a joke and can’t wait to tell it to George, but then she remembers they’re no longer on speaking terms. Finally, Martha relents and forgives George because “Good friends just can’t stay cross for long.”

In The High Board, George announces that today, he will jump from the high board. Martha says she could never do such a thing. When George climbs up the steps to the high dive, he discovers that he is too afraid to jump. “I’ll be right up,” says Martha.

Clearly, James Marshall knows what it means to be a true friend. In this volume, all 35 of his stories about George and Martha are brought together to teach us what true friendship and love is all about, with humor and lightheartedness. The stories are perfect for children ages 4-8 and their grownups.

Bloom! A Little Book About Finding Love by Maria Van Lieshout
Bloom! shows us another side of falling in love: That it can be fleeting. One day, when Bloom the Pig is frolicking among the flowers, a “flying flower” dances by her -- a butterfly. They gaze into each others eyes for a time, but as soon as Bloom whispers the words “I love you,” the butterfly flutters away. Bloom’s heart breaks as she watches the butterfly disappear forever. “I will never love again,” she proclaims.

Just when she thinks all is lost, another piggie comes along and offers her solace: a puddle full of flowers for them to roll around in together. Perhaps this thoughtful piggie, who has been there all along, is someone she should spend more time with. Simple watercolor images accompany the story, with shades of pink and red against a white background. The only other color you’ll find in the story is blue - the hue of the fickle butterfly with whom Bloom falls in love. 

This love story is best suited for children ages 8 and over.

Like Likes Like by Chris Raschka
Like Likes Like is a story about a cat who is “unlike the rest, unlucky, alone.” He goes on a solo journey, until “Look! In Luck” He finds someone like himself and the cat is no longer alone. “Not alone now, two together, in rows and rows of roses.” Pictures are bold and colorful, and just a few words on each page are all that is needed to tell their hopeful love story. 
The simplicity of the story makes it great for children in Pre-K through third grade.