Love and friendship: picture book recommendations from the Ottawa Public Library

This post is part of a series of monthly blog posts by Ottawa Public Library children’s librarians! We hope you enjoy today’s post and remember to check back every month for great children’s books ideas. by Jessica Roy, Children's Librarian, Alta Vista Branch

One story that is often told in children’s books today is that of two oddball characters who are brought together, against all odds, to form an unlikely and heartwarming friendship. This is one of my favorite themes and, fortunately for me, these books are not hard to find. It is my guess that this is because people of all ages enjoy a story where love, friendship and togetherness rule the day. Here are a few favorites to share with your family this Valentine’s Day.

Hello My Name is Bob by Linas Alsenas.

Hello, My Name Is BobBob and Jack are two friends that couldn’t be more different. Jack is all about wearing loud colors and being rambunctious while Bob, the quintessential introvert, enjoys counting toothpicks, dusting plants and hanging out in empty parking lots. The story of these two wildly different personalities and their peculiar friendship is told with a deadpan humour that will appeal to both adults and children.

Smitten by David Gordon.

SmittenSock and Mitten are lost and lonely singles.  The unusual pair set out on a perilous journey to find their other halves and end up helping each other through some tough times along the way. When Sock shrinks in the dryer, Mitten helps him cope and when mitten comes undone, sock knits him back together. In the end they discover that what they are really looking for is each other. 

A Circle is Not a Valentine by H. Werner Zimmerman

Alphonse, a well-intentioned but blundering artist, attempts to paint a valentine for his adorable mouse friend. Alas, our hapless hero manages to paint every kind of shape but a heart. Luckily, his rodent companion is able to help him out, and in the process, demonstrates what true friendship is all about. This is a great read aloud that begs audience participation.

Jennifer Jones Won’t Leave Me Alone by Frieda Wishinsky 

Jennifer Jones Won't Leave Me AloneJennifer Jones is crazy about her classmate who is less than crazy about her.  When Jennifer moves to Paris, however, the reluctant object of her affections is surprised to find that he actually misses her. The whimsical illustrations and humorous, rhyming verse are sure to be a hit with the whole family.


What About Bear? by Suzanne Bloom

What about Bear?Bear and Goose have a splendid friendship indeed but Bear feels left out when Fox tries to join in. Fortunately, Goose knows that more friends equal more fun and he finds a way to soothe Bear’s hurt feelings without leaving Fox out. “Bear is my big, old, sometimes grumpy friend,” Goose says to Fox, “You can be our new friend.” This story takes a sensitive and thougtful look at the sort of friendship conundrum that many kids can relate to.

Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers

Lost and FoundWhen a boy tries to help a lost penguin find his way back to the South Pole he discovers that his little friend was not so much lost as he was lonely. Oliver Jeffer’s charming illustrations, uncomplicated text and loveable characters make for an endearing tale about the affection between a boy and his penguin.