Sugar Cookies: Sweet Little Lessons on Love, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

I don’t understand the indignation surrounding Valentine’s Day. Sure Hallmark is laughing all the way to the bank, but the very core of the holiday is sharing love. Why would we miss any occasion to say “I love you”? Doesn’t it feel good to hear? Doesn’t it feel great to say? What’s wrong with an extra opportunity to say it? It doesn’t make the “I love you” I said yesterday or the “I love you” I’ll say tomorrow any less poignant. The expectations of chocolate and flowers etc. is a different beast altogether, but I’m always grateful to hear professions of love, I’ll take it. My husband and I exchange cards and nothing more. I treasure these cards. His words are so loving, not necessarily any more or less so than my birthday cards or anniversary cards, but I keep all of them. I love it, I love wallowing in love, I love celebrating love.

Now my kids are another matter. I love them. I adore them. But my Valentine is my romantic love, my husband. We made 40 (seriously, 40) little Valentines for my son’s little schoolmates. He is so innocent, so blissfully unaware that his love for his mother or his stuffed bunny could be different than the love I have for Daddy. I wasn’t planning to do anything for them, really, shy of maybe baking cookies and of course sharing love love love all day. But the kids’ grandparents sent them each Valentines cards (in the mail, no less, there is nothing more thrilling than receiving personal mail at that age). Then yesterday a neighbor came by with two amazingly thoughtful bags of homemade heart-shaped sugar cookies and some little chocolates and cards for each of them. A neighbor I’ve met exactly once. I was upstaged by a virtual stranger. So last night I took the leftover red heart doilies from the 40 Valentines (seriously, 40) and taped them on the kids’ doors. This morning I painstakingly made two little plates full of perfect heart-shaped pancakes. They were, of course, received with a prompt “Oh, hearts. Will you cut them up now please? OOOOOH! MAPLE SYRUP!!!!!” I broke out the heart-shaped cookie cutter for my son’s PB & J sandwich, then I wrote on the last doily- “I love you” and stuffed it into his lunch box. Here’s the thing- I know he can read it. This is a new thing, the window of his excitement to learn to read has opened wide in the last week or so, and I’m just wanting to pounce on that. So as I was writing out “I love you”, I became a little choked up. He was going to open his lunch and be surprised by the note, and then actually read it. And know that I love him. That’s a major milestone-reading his first note by himself. Next year? I’m going all out. Cards. Cookies. Maybe even a Valentine garland. Yeah, man.

Now onto the book. Amy Krouse Rosenthal, author of many crazy-inventive children’s books (that I can’t believe haven’t shown up here yet, I’ve got to get on that), has a series called Cookies. They’re kind of an intro to virtues for children, definitions, really, of principles all in relation to cookies. They are all deliciously wholesome with charming old-fashioned illustrations. We’ve read “Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons“, where we learned that PATIENCE is waiting for the cookies to bake, and COOPERATE means ‘how about you add the chips while I stir?” We’ve also read “One Smart Cookie: Bite-Size Life Lessons for the School Years and Beyond,” where we learned that PREPARED means looking at the recipe ahead of time so we can make sure we have everything we need, and PONDER is thinking carefully about what kind of cookies to make for your friend. I thought 2009’s “Sugar Cookies: Sweet Little Lessons on Love” would be appropriate for Valentine’s Day.

Sugar Cookies- Amelie's BookshelfThe vocabulary words this time are, of course, all about love. Endearment, unconditionally, compassionate, tenderness, all sweetly relating to cookies. I don’t know about you, but when my 5 year old breaks out a nice big word and uses it correctly, my first instinct is, of course, to giggle in surprise, but then to give him major props. I love it.

Sugar Cookies: Amelie's Bookshelf

If you can read this book aloud to your little darling snuggling in your lap without tearing up, you are stronger than I. And yes, commercials get me too. And singing.

Sugar Cookies: Amelie's Bookshelf

I mean, come on. So much sweetness!

Sugar Cookies: Amelie's Bookshelf

I just die reading through these. To top it off, there’s even a recipe for sugar cookies in the back of the book. I’m going to break out that heart-shaped cookie cutter again this afternoon after school.

I’m going to leave you today with a clip that makes me well up every time I watch it- LOVE LOVE LOVE, you guys! Isn’t that nice to share?

By the way, February 14th is also International Book Giving Day- so forgoing the standard chocolate and roses might not be a bad idea- check out this webpage!

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25 thoughts on “Sugar Cookies: Sweet Little Lessons on Love, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

  1. Of course, I am a terrible old softie anyway but I love this book and oh man, that clip from Love, Actually…. You know that tears me up every time and I am sure I have seen it ten times!! Great post once again! Lovely!

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    • I’m a softie too- I first realized I was pregnant with my second when I burst into tears at the Laurie Berkner band on Nick Jr. There are several parts in Love, Actually that just drop me.

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  2. I love this post! I need to get this book–I love hearing a 5-year old incorporate new “big kid” words into her daily life, and these words would be the sweetest! Plus, Love Actually…….you know how I feel about that movie!

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  3. Exactly- if they’re going to be learning big words, shouldn’t they be things like Considerate and Supportive? And Oh Love, Actually. That’s my movie that I can’t pass up when it’s on, no matter how many times I’ve seen it!

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  4. Oh my goodness what a cute book! Gotta get that for Jolie, relating virtues to cookies = genius!! By the way I ordered paper bag princess for Jolie’s Birthday and she loved it, when we read the last page she shouted hah! and actually jumped around the room clapping.

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  5. We love those books! When my girls first started going to birthday parties regularly (age 3, when they started daycare), one of my “go to” gifts was “Cookies: Bite-Sized Life Lessons” and a play cookie set.

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  6. ooooh I didn’t know there was a love book! I ADORE her books. They are brilliant. There are no other books I’ve found that help to explain these concepts on a child level.

    My husband and I just exchange cards as well, and that makes me happy. 🙂

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  7. So happy to have found you through Laura Munson’s Valentine’s Day Twitter. I looked for a FaceBook page or Web-site, but if you have one I missed it. I’m eager to see what appeals to you for children and parents.

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    • Me too and I intend to keep coming. I haven’t done the research I should have on children’s books because I’ve been busy writing and illustrating one for nearly a decade. It’s written in picture book format, but my first line is “BLOSSOM is written for EVERYONE who has ever been frightened by change.” Now that I’m ready to publish I’m concerned it will be labeled as “just” a children’s book. How do you regard books that contain messages for children AND the grown-ups around them?

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      • Oh, I think a lot of the books that we love are enjoyable reads for adults, and have a message important for a broader audience as well- particularly Zen Shorts ( https://ameliesbookshelf.com/2012/10/10/zen-shorts-by-jon-j-muth/ ) and Ish ( https://ameliesbookshelf.com/2012/09/19/ish-by-peter-h-reynolds/ ). We have a book called Elliot ( https://ameliesbookshelf.com/2012/10/02/elliott-by-tobin-sprout/ ) that is about fear of change, and while it’s heavy for kids, it rings true for me. Zen Shorts, I think, most of all hits me when I’m reading it- there are a couple of stories in there that I can relate to as an adult that just floor me. One is about a young monk and an old monk who come upon a haughty noble lady yet the old monk is kind to her and picks her up and carries her over a puddle. Hours later, the young monk is grumbling still and asks why he did that when she was so awful to them and the old monk replies “I set her down hours ago, why are you still carrying her?” That’s me to a T! I just dwell on things long after I should have set them down and while my son doesn’t necessarily “get” that message, I sure do. So it can certainly be done. Good luck with your book, Linda!

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  8. I really like the idea of relating cookies and virtues. It makes the abstract so concrete for kids… without me having to think up my own metaphor. I will definitely be adding this to Sweet Pea’s TBR pile. Thanks!

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  9. Pingback: Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld | Amélie's Bookshelf

  10. Pingback: Uni the Unicorn, by Amy Rosenthal and Brigette Barrager | Amélie's Bookshelf

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