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If You'll Be My Valentine


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About the Author

Cynthia Rylant was awarded a Newbery Medal for her novel Missing May and a Newbery Honor for A Fine White Dust. She is the author of several popular series for the beginning reader, including the "Henry and Mudge" books. Cynthia Rylant lives with her family in Washington State.


What are the rewards of becoming the boy narrator's valentine? That depends on whom he's addressing. On the left-hand side of each spread, readers see a homemade heart-themed missive specially tailored for a beloved recipient; opposite, a full-bleed illustration demonstrates how the sentiment inside the card plays out-and clearly it's an offer too good to refuse. For his dog, the boy draws a heart with a bone where Cupid's arrow would go, and promises, "If you'll be my valentine/ I'll give you extra treaties/ I'll give you two/ and maybe three/ and let you lick my feeties." Mom gets a valentine covered in hearts that doubles as an invitation to tea for two-during which the hero displays a suave mastery of pouring. For a big brother who undoubtedly thinks Valentine's Day is mushy, the boy makes a ghoulish valentine and proposes to "make you funny faces." Kosaka's (Ordinary Mary's Extraordinary Deed) simply rendered, openhearted pictures provide literal distillations of the text, but do little to energize the gentle rhymes. Older or antsier readers may wish for more visual hooks and a less sentimental ending ("We'll love the trees/ and all the world.../ We'll love each other, too"). Younger children, however, will likely warm to the book's genial straightforwardness, and eagerly speculate on the ideal valentines for recipients of their own acquaintance. Ages 3-8. (Dec.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

PreS-A little boy creates and presents valentines to his pets, family members, and even his teddy bear in this appealing picture book. Told entirely in rhyme, the story commemorates kindness as well as love: the child reads a book to a younger brother and sends an affectionate note to his grandmother. There are also touches of humor: he tells his dog, "If you'll be my valentine/I'll give you extra treaties./I'll give you two/and maybe three/and let you lick my feeties." The text reads smoothly and is ideal for sharing aloud. Kosaka's pastel artwork is warm and cheery, depicting simply drawn characters set against textured backdrops. On each spread, the text is printed on the left page above a small picture of the appropriate valentine; the right side contains a large illustration of the youngster interacting with the card's recipient. Include this book in holiday programs that celebrate sentiment over commercialism.-Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, WI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

" excellent addition to holiday collection."--Kirkus Reviews
"A good read-aloud choice for the holdiay."--Booklist

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