I told you all that I love a holiday-themed book, right?! Well, here’s another one that we read for Valentine’s Day. It is called Love Monster and is written by Rachel Bright. Though it could definitely be read any time of the year, I usually save it for the occasion. I actually read it to both boys this year (separately – we do book time with each boy in their own bed as a way to calm down before sleep and a way to get some one-on-one time with mom and/or dad every day.) The reasons I loved it with both boys were very different, and the whole evening ended with the investigation of a different organ than the heart, so wait for it!
First, the 3 ¼ yo: I knew he would love it. It has a googly-eyed monster, words he can say as we read, and lots of emotion. If you are not to the 3ish stage with your kiddos, just wait! The love they have and the empathy they feel for everyone/everything around them is just the absolute sweetest.
The googly-eyed monster is what drew me to the book in the first place (see my plea to have more books about boys and their feelings here). I was so happy to see a “love” book that boys would appreciate as well as girls. But the best part for my boy was definitely the words he could say on his own.
We read a lot of “word books” (I searched to see if there was a better term for those, but if it’s good enough for Barnes and Noble, it’s good enough for me) with the boys when they were younger (we still do with the 3 ¼ yo). You know, the ones that show an item or a place and give it a word? They are a great way to build their vocabulary from a young age. The Foot Book is probably our favorite “word book” because it does a great job of sharing a cute story/awesome message through those words.
Though Love Monster is not really a “word book,” it is nice because it contains a few words in the middle of the book that my 3 ¼ yo can say as we read. This makes the book more interactive for him and helps to keep his attention in a spot where it might wane.
Then we get to the part where the monster is sad. The part that makes me so grateful for sweet, caring boys! The love that pours out of me when my little one says, “ Oh no, Mommy! He sad,” about this sweet little monster is just too much to explain. And I love how a book can give him the time to fully process and share that empathy.
Now for the 6 ¾ yo: I was curious to see how he would react to this one this year. Is he too old? Will he think the love stuff is gross? Does he care that it is Valentine’s Day soon? Will he tell me he has a girlfriend?!?! Oh gosh. Please no.
But the result was not what I was expecting at all.
We ended up looking up the parts of the brain! Here’s how it went down:
Me: Have you found someone to love like the monster did?
Me internally: Pleeeeeeease no!
6 ¾ yo: *scoff* Not like the way a boyfriend and girlfriend love each other. I’m never doing that.
Me: Ha! I’ll remind you of that when you are older.
6 ¾ yo: Well, not until I am older then.
Me: We will see what your heart has to say about it.
6 ¾ yo: Wait! Your heart actually controls you?!
Me: Well, not your actual heart. It’s really a part of your brain, but people call it your heart because your emotions seem so different from things like doing math, which your brain also does.
6 ¾ yo: I know alllllll about the parts of the brain from Captain Underpants.
Me internally: Captain Underpants strikes again!
Me: Oh yeah… let’s look it up and see.
And that’s what we did. And I love that we never would have if it weren’t for Love Monster and the question of where love comes from.
I thought about Googling “parts of the brain” to find the answer we were looking for, but decided to use the opportunity to see if we could look it up in a book. As luck would have it, I recently bought a book for him about the parts of the body, and we were able to look it up there!
The book we looked at is an Usborne book called, See Inside Your Body, and it is written by Katie Daynes and Colin King . If you are unfamiliar with Usborne books, PLEASE look them up. I have found so many amazing titles that I know I will be sharing stories about in the future.
For me, showing the 6 ¾ yo that information we might find online can actually be found in a book is winning! And there are flaps for interactive learning in this one… what could be better?!
Oh books. “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Links to books mentioned above:
Love Monster – by Rachel Bright
The Foot Book – by Dr. Seuss
*See Inside Your Body – by Katie Daynes and Colin King
*Please note – Usborne is a consultant-based business. If you already have a consultant, contact them to order. If not, this page links to my consultant, Christina Martin. She is also a mother of two boys and a book enthusiast! Feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Poem – How Do I Love Thee? – by Elizabeth Barrett Browning