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The Picture Book Buzz

Little Hearts - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

The premise of this one was so enticing to me when it was announced, as I've found a few heart shaped rocks, shells, and leaves. And just the other day, the slices we made to level the Christmas tree turned out to be heart shaped. This adorable picture book is such a fun idea for getting little kids excited and curious about exploring outdoors.

Little Hearts: Finding Hearts in Nature


Author: Charles Ghigna


Illustrator: Jacqueline East


Publisher: Red Comet Press


Ages: 3-6


Fiction:


Themes:

Nature, animals, finding hearts, friendship, curiosity, and slowing down.


Synopsis:

Four animal friends discover the many "little hearts" that can be found in nature.


Join a group of animal friends as they explore and discover the many "little hearts" that are found in nature. This gentle introduction to the world of nature for young children, written in rhyming stanzas by Charles Ghigna, is based around a theme that is sure to be popular for Valentine's Day celebrations, but also at any time of the year. It reminds us to take our time and appreciate our surroundings and the beauty of nature. Accompanied by Jacqueline East's charming illustrations, this book is a perfect way to inspire curiosity and foster an early appreciation of our natural world.


Opening Lines:

The world is full of little hearts.

Each one a sign of love.


Some are found upon the ground.

Some are up above.


What I LOVED about this book:

Beginning with Charles Ghigna's wonderful opening stanza, Jacqueline East uses such a soft touch in her pastel illustrations to introduce an adorable cast of animals who set out to find little hearts in nature on a beautiful fall day. It's fun to see how many little hearts she tucked into the clouds, tree, and flowers on this spread alone. (I found about 29.) And she's so ingenious in some of her hearts - like one created by a rock and it's reflection in a little puddle.

Text © Charles Ghigna, 2022. Image © Jacqueline East, 2022.


Using a gentle rhythm and easy rhyming stanzas - "Little seashells on the shore./Some look like a heart!/Each leaf upon the redbud tree/Looks like a work of art!" - the text leads the reader through a nature treasure hunt looking for items in the shapes of hearts. And the illustrations beautifully play along with multiple heart shapes within each image or beautiful double spreads. Some are obvious, like the redbud tree full of heart shaped leaves, others require you to stop, listen, and look...

Text © Charles Ghigna, 2022. Image © Jacqueline East, 2022.


The smell of roses in the air.

They blossom in the sun.

Each petal is a little heart.

A very fragrant one.


I love that little "bud" heart and the subtle hearts formed by each rose petal. Did you happen to notice the bee's wings? Additionally, the sweet looks on the character's faces, here in particular, made me wonder if "little hearts" didn't also apply to these four little friends and their bird companions. Not just a recounting of the hearts that they found everywhere they looked, but a comment on their own (and the reader's) wondering, marveling, happy, little hearts.


While there isn't an arc per say in the poem, it is full of curiosity and wonder; encouraging readers to wander outdoors and discover nature's treasures. There is a gentle movement from early morning to late evening in the illustrations. Encompassing a fun day spent exploring the woods, seaside, a strawberry field, and an orchard finding little hearts in obvious places - leaves, rocks, and clouds, and less obvious ones spider webs, inside apples and walnuts, and a bouquet of butterflies. A definite call for everyone to get outside and explore.


The wonderful end papers beautifully complete this fun adventure. The initial one offers kids an enticing map and a little apple heart. The final one shows the meandering dotted path that the four friends took on their day's adventure. I love the addition of two redbud heart leaves and the four friends watching a departing butterfly at the end of their adventure. Kids will enjoy tracing the four friend's route.

Text © Charles Ghigna, 2022. Image © Jacqueline East, 2022.


This is a great book to read for Valentine's Day, before heading out on a nature treasure hunt, as a shape hunt book, or a soft, gentle, snuggle before bed. A gorgeous book celebrating nature, discovery, wonder, and friendship. Encouraging us all to slow down and look at all the amazing things we can find in nature. One that will be enjoyed over and over again by young kids and their caregivers.


Resources:

- try making hearts from items (flowers, rocks, twigs, etc.) you find in nature.


- have you found hearts in nature? Take a photograph, draw a picture, and/or write an entry in a nature journal describing the heart and where you found it.


- take some time to wander with friends and see what hearts or other treasures you find around you. Don't forget to look in the clouds.


If you missed the interview with Charles Ghigna on Monday, find it (here).


This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions and resources see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

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Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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