VALENTINE HEARTS: HOLIDAY POETRY
Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Pictures by JoAnn Adinolfi
Valentine Hearts is An I Can Read Book. Its poems are short, lighthearted, and they rhyme. The poems contain few difficult words, are easy to read, and would appeal to most young children. Topics of the poems include a sandwich cut in the shape of a heart that a child finds in his lunchbox, a child getting all covered with glitter and glue when creating a special valentine, a young girl writing a love note to her dog Leo, a chickadee singing a “valentine melody”—and a poem by Maria Fleming about candy conversation hearts that are…
Spelled in sugared ink:
Tiny love notes
Good enough to eat.
Be on your way.
Go, speed along
To sweetly say
That on this good
St. Valentine’s Day
A heart is meant
To give away.
Valentine Hearts ($3.99 in paperback) would make a good addition to a library collection in an early elementary classroom.
Written by Alison Jackson
Illustrated by Tricia Tusa
In a cabin, in a canyon,
Near a mountain laced with pine,
Lived a girl who was my sweetheart,
And her name was Valentine.
Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling Valentine,
I have written forty letters,
But you’ve never read a line.
So begins this lighthearted adaptation of the folksong “My Darling, Clementine.” In this tale, a man attempts to send dozens of love notes to his sweetheart Valentine. Unfortunately, the notes never reach their intended destination—for various reasons. The mailman can’t find Valentine’s address. The homing pigeon flies off to Madagascar. The suitor’s smoky love signal gets blown away by a cyclone. The message tapped out in Morse code hits a blizzard as it crosses the county line.
It is Valentine’s side of the story that we “read” about only in the illustrations. It’s not written about in the text. The Ballad of Valentine provides a perfect example of how a talented illustrator can extend and enhance a picture book text. With a deft and droll artistic hand, Tusa adds humor and detail to Jackson’s rhythmic and rhyming tale of love. This is a fine and “fun” book to read aloud to young children—make that sing aloud to young children—on Valentine’s Day!
Valentine Poems, Books, & More
- Valentine Poems for Children by David McCord, Valerie Worth, Jane Yolen, Barbara Juster Esbensen, Jane Yolen, and Shakespeare
- Valentine’s Poems from the Poetry Foundation's Online Journal
At Blue Rose Girls, I have a poem by the late John Updike entitles Burning Trash.
The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Wild Rose Reader today. Leave a comment and the URL of your poetry post at the roundup post.