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Notes From a Children's Librarian: Friendship Books for February

Friendship and frost go hand in hand in these warm and cold tales for February.

Book Cover Kiss Me I'm a Prince

Our children's librarian columnist, Julie Booker, brings us a new view from the stacks every month.


Friendship and frost go hand in hand in these warm and cold tales for February.

In Kiss Me! (I'm a Prince), by Heather McLeod, illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan, Ella is skeptical when she meets a frog prince asking for a kiss. The promise of being a princess doesn't hold much clout for a basketball-playing little girl like Ella. She'd have to wear a gown, keep it clean, and she wouldn't be able to play much. So she carries the frog around in her pocket, refusing his request, until a courtier arrives to claim him. The frog returns home, still a frog, asking for the kiss of a true friend now, because he too wants to "play happily ever after." Age 4+

Book Cover Yuck a Love Story

Yuck, A Love Story, by Don Gillmor, illustrated by Marie-Louise Gay, is similar in its endearing humour. Austin Grouper's world changes when a girl his age moves in next door. He pretends Amy isn't worthy of his attention but when her birthday invitation arrives in the mail, Austin dresses up as a cowboy and lassoes the perfect present for Amy—the moon. The magic realism of this young love story helps put the moon/cheese myth to rest. 5+

Book Cover Friendship Bracelets

To give something special to a friend or loved one, you don't always need the moon. All you might need is Friendship Bracelets, by Camilla Gryski, three to four colours of embroidery thread, a safety pin, and scissors. The simple, step-by-step approach explains how to choose colours, how to keep threads organized, how to measure and tie knots, and how to braid the ends for fastening. It begins with the easiest design—the diagonal stripe and goes on to describe more complex designs such as arrowheads, zigzags, diamonds, and flowers. Gryski spells out how to incorporate beads, and how to make earrings and key chains. At the end are diagrams for quick reference and a section on "What if I make a mistake?" Grade 4 reading level.

Book Cover Building an Igloo

Building an Igloo, with text and large black and white photos by Ulli Steltzer, is a non-fiction picture book showing Inuit Tookillkee cutting blocks of snow with a saw blade, lining them up like dominoes before placing them in a spiral. He shaves the blocks for "skillful shaping and fitting" to fashion a keystone, a door, chimney, a window out of a piece of ocean ice, and an enclosed porch. The final photo is from the point of view of the reader looking out to the frozen ocean, anticipating the day's hunt. Age 5+

Book Cover Making Grizzle Grow

In Making Grizzle Grow, by Rachna Gilmore, illustrated by Leslie Elizabeth Watts, Emily creates a dinosaur out of snow while her sculptor dad works inside on his own creation. She's frustrated he doesn't have time to play with her. As Emily feeds Grizzle snow pizzas and snow hot dogs, it grows into a T-Rex, ready to pounce on her dad who comes out, in slippers, to check on her. This sweet father–daughter story, with its realistic illustrations is good for age 4+.

book cover on a snowy night

A neglected bunny is the protagonist in Jean Little's On a Snowy Night, illustrated by Brian Deines. As Brandon gets older he gets careless with his pet Rosa and one night he leaves her outside in the snow. A bevy of wild animals, including a squirrel, raccoon, and hawk help Rosa survive and find her way back to the warm embrace of Brandon. The large pictures effectively capture a snowy night. Age 4+.

On her first day as teacher-librarian, Julie Booker was asked by a five-year-old if that was her real name. She's felt at home in libraries since her inaugural job as a Page in the Toronto Public Library. She is the author of Up Up Up, a book of short stories published by House of Anansi Press in 2011. 

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