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News / Life / Clark County Life

Check It Out: Everything is better with chocolate

By Jan Johnston for The Columbian
Published: February 12, 2023, 6:02am

Happy Valentine’s Day! When I was a little girl, my favorite part of Valentine’s Day was trading valentines at school. How I loved those little cards! Now that I’m well into middle age with my sweetheart of almost 30 years, I look forward to spending Heart Day with him — and eating chocolate. I’ve outgrown the tiny cards, but the chocolate is forever.

By the way, one of the titles I’m highlighting this week is “Chocolate is Forever,” which is a very deliberate choice on my part.

For me, everything is a little bit better when chocolate is involved, so a cookbook devoted to my favorite sweet is a solid win.

The rest of the titles in this week’s reading list are picture books, another personal favorite of mine.

See my brief annotations below to find out if you, or a little one, wants to read about a porcupine who wants to be Cupid, a cement mixer who receives a valentine, a heart-filled walk through nature, and how love comes in all shapes and sizes (starring a zoo-ful of animals).

  • “Chocolate is Forever: Classic Cakes, Cookies, Pastries, Pies, Puddings, Candies, Confections, and More” by Maida Heatter.

It’s all about chocolate — what more do I need to say?

  • “I Love You with All of My Hearts” written by Lindsay Bonilla, illustrated by Eleonora Pace.

Some animals have multiple hearts while others have multiple eyes (eek!), but their differences don’t stop them from finding love and friendship. A sweet story about love that includes an assortment of fun animal facts.

  • “Little Hearts: Finding Hearts in Nature” written by Charles Ghigna, illustrated by Jacqueline East.

Isn’t it fun to find shapes in clouds? Or rocks? Or plants? This charming picture book shares the joy experienced by four animal friends when hearts show up in nature.

  • “Melvin’s Valentine” written by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by multiple illustrators.

Melvin, a cement mixer, receives a valentine, but he doesn’t know who gave it to him. This worries Melvin. I don’t know about you, but an anxious cement mixer sounds like a story I want to read.

  • “Porcupine Cupid” written by Jason June, illustrated by Lori Richmond.

Porcupine croons, “Love is in the air!” but his efforts at playing Cupid go awry when his friends keep getting poked by his arrows (aka quills). It’s a sticky situation, but don’t worry, love conquers all.