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by Ann Tompert & illustrated by Kestutis Kasparavicius

Age Range: 6 - 9

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 1-59078-181-3
Publisher: Boyds Mills

Tompert has done an expert job of weaving the tiny strands of fact about the life of Saint Valentine with the lovely legends that have grown around his name into a bright volume that also provides a glimpse into Roman life and Christian persecution. What is known is that Valentine was a Christian priest during the reign of the Roman emperor Claudius II in the third century. Tompert recounts the legend that Valentine consoled Christians imprisoned for their faith by sending them hearts cut out of parchment; and that he performed secret wedding ceremonies for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. Sent by the emperor to live with a lieutenant instructed to convert Valentine by any means necessary, Valentine instead converted the lieutenant and his entire household to Christianity. They were all martyred for their faith, and an almond tree blossomed on Valentine’s grave on February 14th for many years. Kasparavicius’s watercolors use hieratic forms and strong lines so that they almost appear carved in stone. He uses Roman architecture and interiors softened by color washes and growing things. A lovely valentine. (Picture book/biography. 6-9)