Ok, so to be honest, I’ve never used the word “bae” either online or IRL before, but I’m totes hip with the youthful jargon. And your bae is the perfect person for these books.
See, these are books for children - literal babies! - but they’re really books for the person who makes your soul sing. They are for the person who transforms your daily, lonely existence into a scene from the end of a romantic comedy, and does it without being too cheesy. The person who fills your boring blah with whimsy and rhyme. The cream in your coffee - or, the only person who understands why you love it black.
I found each of these books while reading to my kids, but I don’t know that the kids really get them, yet. They are picture books about love.
Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon
Herman and Rosie live in side by side apartment buildings in New York City. By day, Herman is a telemarketer, and Rosie works in a fine restaurant. But by night, Herman plays jazz on the oboe, and Rosie sings at a club. In the loneliness and pressure of big city life, they both begin to lose their music. Until it brings them together.
Celebrating toffee that sticks to your teeth, Jacques Cousteau, and the way music knits people together, this is a love story and a celebration of the vibrant culture of New York City. The illustrations are gorgeous.
Monkess the Homunculus by Seth T. Hahne
Monkess, a golem-like little girl-creature, lives alone on an island in the South Pacific. She’s happy there. One day, she meets Puffin the puffin, who is poking the lava in the island’s volcano and scribbling equations in a notebook. Puffin is delighted to see that Monkess pokes the lava with the same kindness and tenderness that he does, and they become the best of friends.
This could be a story about friendship, but the author’s note clarifies: Monkess was inspired by the author’s wife, and he’s the puffin. Love, in this story, is not the solution to loneliness or the thrill of a new experience. It’s something more than that. It’s “being happy in each other’s company” and “being careful not to knock over the other person’s zoo” and “playing games and NOT losing on purpose to make the other person feel better” and most of all “It’s a homunculus and a puffin having a good time together because they are together.” That’s a beautiful truth.
The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear, illustrated by Jan Brett
It’s laughable. An owl and a pussycat? Likely that feline would attack the fowl and nibble him for dinner. It’s romance against all odds and it’s ridiculous and rhyming. There’s a serenade under the stars, a boat trip, a ring, and a dance by the light of the moon. If you look closely, you'll notice there's a goldfish romance in the illustrations as well.
If no one understands why you want to run away with your bae, but you do, then this is the book for you. And after a reading or two, the rhythm of the lines will be stuck in your head all day, just like a love song.
(I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago because I've been loving reading BookRiot lately, and I thought hmmm, maybe I should try to write for them. Then I remembered that I have no time to take on any more writing assignments this year. But I really do love these books.)