The Best Valentine Book

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If there was a movement to have an official Valentine book, I would vote for Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli.

Valentine’s Day, unlike Christmas, is not a holiday that calls to mind a rich literature of its own, but there are several heartwarming books out there.  Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch has staying power.  Once you read it, it becomes a family favorite and, in my family, a short hand way to refer to a certain kind of person.  In fact,  I heard an 8th grade student say something about “Mr. Hatch” the other day and knew she had been a lucky child.

The story is a relatively simple one about the power of feeling cared about.  At the beginning of the book, Mr. Hatch is a lonely man who lives a lonely and regulated life.  When a big Valentine box of candy is mistakenly delivered to his door, Mr. Hatch begins to change and take part in the world around him.  The illustrations mirror the story, beginning with  watery-grey scenes of Mr. Hatch’s routine and becoming more colorful as his world expands.

By the way, a terrific Valentine’s Day story for pre-school age children is The Day it Rained Hearts by Felicia Bond.

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