Friday, February 6, 2009

Valentine Hearts: Poetry & A Picture Book in Verse

Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Pictures by JoAnn Adinolfi
HarperCollins, 2005

This anthology contains twelve poems for the very “young at heart.” Poems in this slim volume were written by such well-known children’s poets as Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Marilyn Singer, Lee Bennett Hopkins, and Ann Whitford Paul. The book also includes a poem by fellow kidlit blogger Linda Kulp—and two by the widely published author who goes by the pen name of Anonymous.

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…

Telling secrets
Spelled in sugared ink:
“Be Mine.”
“For Keeps.”
“It’s True.”
“How Sweet.”
Tiny love notes
Good enough to eat.

Here’s a poem from the book written by the famous Anonymous:

Golden Heart

Golden heart
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
Dutton, 2002

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 matters not that the plucky Valentine hasn’t received any of the amorous correspondence from her beloved. While her frustrated suitor has been trying and trying over and over again to send his notes of love, Valentine’s been busy hanging laundry, feeding chickens, toting well water…and baking an apple pie for her honey—which she delivers to him at story’s end.

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


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.


Author Amok said...

Thanks for the timely post, Elaine. I'm sending your link to the teachers I've done poetry workshops for this school year.

Anonymous said...

What fun resources!

Anonymous said...

Oh, fun! I have been looking for a poem that the boys (first grade) won't ew-yuk over! Now I've got a good place to start.

Kelly Polark said...

Great suggestions!

tanita✿davis said...

That remake of "Clementine" is far too much fun!

Anonymous said...

happy valentine!

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Anonymous said...

hmm... love this thread :))

Anonymous said...

Как вы относитесь к непопулярным статьям в блогах

Anonymous said...

hey, spring is cooming! good post there, tnx for

Anonymous said...

ЧТо вы думаете про Женщина в четвертый раз выиграла в лотерею миллионы долларов? Как вы к этому относитесь?