I Haiku You by Betsy Snyder
This diminutive book is filled with equally small haiku poetry. Each poem is a celebration of either love for someone else or a warm moment in time. There are poems about warm soup, purple popsicles and lemonade. Each one is a tiny look into a universal and noteworthy moment. Turning from one page to the next, the book manages to avoid being overly sweet through its humor and the sense of joy that pervades it. In other words, these are far more organic and natural poems than Hallmark ever manages to create. Instead these are wonderful little gifts of haiku that are invitations to celebrate the small moments of life that we share with one another.
Snyder has created illustrations that are equally warm and special. Done on cream paper, the illustrations have pops of purples, oranges, reds and yellows but still have a softness. The result is a book that is cheery and warm.
A perfect Valentine’s Day gift, this book should also be useful as an introduction to the haiku format. Or one could just curl up at bedtime and share some short and lovely poetry. What better way to create beautiful dreams? Appropriate for ages 4-7.
Reviewed from copy received from Random House.
The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever by Brenda A. Ferber, illustrated by Tedd Arnold
Leon has a crush on a girl, so he makes her a construction paper heart for Valentine’s Day. But when he tries to put the valentine into an envelope, the valentine runs away insisting that Leon can’t tell Zoey Maloney that he loves her! In fact, the valentine thinks love is “mushy and gross and just plain YUCKY!” He says that Valentine’s Day is not about love, but about candy. Soon Leon is chasing after the valentine, trying to get him to stop. They pass a group of boys, a group of girls and a group of teens before finally coming to Zoey Maloney herself, and a valentine that she has made for Leon. Maybe Valentine’s Day is about more than candy after all?
Ferber marries Valentine’s Day and the pacing and style of the Gingerbread Man together very successfully in this book. This is a book about crushes and valentines that is far from being too sappy. It is full of humor, action and lots of silliness, mocking the entire idea of love and then in the end turning around and seeing that life (and Valentine’s Day) is sweeter than candy.
Arnold’s style plays perfectly with this story. His swirling lines add to the motion and action. His characters are always clearly showing emotion and the large-headed child characters have an endearing quality to them.
This is one Valentine’s Day book that will appeal to boys and girls alike, those with crushes and those who are just looking for candy. Appropriate for ages 4-6.
Reviewed from copy received from Dial Books.