Strawberries are red.
Blueberries are blue.
Herbie is handsome.
Clifford is a very, very lucky big red dog. Because he’s so big, he also gets the biggest Valentine’s Day card! But like everyone, Clifford started out small. In fact when he was a pup he was just the right size to help his human, Emily Elizabeth, make Valentine’s Day cards for her family.
You can read the whole story in Clifford’s First Valentine’s Day (by Norman Bridwell, 1997, and filed in the Lennoxville Library under a blue dot — just look for the plush Clifford happily napping on the shelf!). But here’s an advance peek: Don’t eat glue. Your lips might stick to your tongue. Ugh.
With Valentine’s less than a week away, now’s the time to make your cards and send them out. You’ll need paper, cardboard, crayons, maybe some scissors and glue. Cards are a lot of fun to colour!
But of course, Valentine’s Day isn’t about cards or presents. The best way to wish anybody a happy Valentine’s Day is with a kiss or hug!
Sometimes, though, a poem is the way to go. Marylou has fallen for the handsome Herbie, but is too shy to speak to him. So she writes him poems, scattering them about the farm in the hopes he’ll find them.
This is a beautiful literary courtship: “Herbie, Herbie, handsome slug, Marylou would love a hug.” Yes, be warned — Herbie is slimey. It just oozes out of him!
The book is Slugs In Love (2006, words by Susan Pearson, pictures by Kevin O’Malley, blue dot). These slime-crossed lovers have a very hard time meeting. Herbie’s responses keep getting washed away! Will these two lovebirds, er, lovebugs, erm, loveslugs, ever actually meet?
This is a delightfully witty book, with lovely pictures too. You’ll giggle along as you read this to your youngster.
Many cute cuddly animals celebrate Valentine’s Day. Tilly is a mole, with a dear friend in Mr. Bunny. Not to mention Mr. Chipmunk and Mrs. Fieldmouse! But has Tilly forgotten what day it is? Maybe. She is very forgetful…
Silly Tilly’s Valentine (Lillian Hoban, 1998) is filed with a purple dot. (Purple dots make up the I Can Read section, simple stories for youngsters starting to sound out letters into familiar words.)
Over in the kids’ French-language book section, the purple dotted Valentins: Histoire et Bricolages (par Judith Moffatt) is for kindergarten to Grade 2 readers. A stripey grey cat has decided to make Valentine’s cards for all his friends. There are lots of ideas here — cutting out hearts, gluing on a bit of ribbon, drawing birds and writing a lovely note. For kids looking for ideas!
It’s also important to be realistic. Not every special day works out. Consider that brainy mouse, Geronimo Stilton, editor of the Rodent Gazette newspaper, and his Valentine’s Day Disaster (2006, a memoir written by Stilton himself, yellow dot). And he had so hoped that his big Valentine’s Day party would be… fabu-mouse.
Geronimo’s book is so packed it’s dizzying — a history of the pizza pie, a line dance lesson, even how to make streamers from an old newspaper. Hang them from your ceiling! Plus a couple of recipes, even a game or two. And of course, you’ll want to find out whether Geronimo’s terrible day ends well… or no.
The Geronimo Stilton books are a popular series, so you can keep up with all the mouse’s many adventures (and his terrible puns).
Edgar Alain Campeau has bad days, too. Mostly because, at the tender age of 12, he already knows that he is the reincarnation of the spooky shorts writer Edgar Allan Poe. No one believes him, but the long-dead Poe’s messages from beyond the grave are everywhere, even if they are sometimes a smidgen hard to decipher. Indeed, Campeau seems to get the message quite, quite wrong much of the time.
But young Campeau perseveres, especially when the black cat appears. Hers is a tell-tale heart, pointing to the woman destined to be Edgar’s first love…
She is, however, an older woman.
Campeau’s gently funny story is a short 90 pages, titled L’Etrange Amour d’Edgar (by Gilles Gauthier, but filed under “COU“, for the series name Courte Echelle, 1993, with an orange dot).
Poe’s marvelously macabre stories were written in mid-1800s. Preview or follow up on Campeau’s coming of age by reading Poe himself, on paper, or online at Gutenberg Galaxy, http://www.gutenberg.org. Poe, of course, not only perfected the scary short story, he wrote spooky poetry and is often credited with the creation of the detective whodunit. Well worth reading.
So we’re almost done here… and here’s the best kind of reminder: no one is too young to be told they are loved. I Love You As Much… (written by Laura Krauss Melmud, illustrated by Henri Sorensen, 1998, red dot) features the repetition and rhyme so beloved by newborns. “Said the mother bear to her child, ‘I love you as much as the forest has trees.’” Baby should be fast asleep by the end of this short book, made of solid cardboard should the wee one want to try to hold it, instead of catching ZZZ’s.
Oh, and all you grown-ups? Happy Valentine’s Day to you too! Because no one’s ever too old to be told they are loved, either.
– Eleanor Brown, February 8, 2013