VALENSTEINS by Ethan Long
Kirkus Star

VALENSTEINS

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A cast of creatures that looks more suited to Halloween than Valentine’s Day finds love scarier than anything they could dream up.

One cold, dark night, a group of friends—including a wolf, a butterfly, a mummy, a rabbit, a vampire, a witch, a ghost, and Fran (Frankenstein’s monster), among others—gathers to practice their scaring techniques. But Fran is acting a little strange, cutting something out of pink paper. The friends guess: fangs? A bat? A nose? A butt? The fluffy white rabbit takes particular glee in sharing all it knows about love: it’s “when two people feel all mushy mushy about each other” and flutter their eyelashes. A double-page spread builds up to the reveal that when two people “ ‘get really, really in love… / …they…they…// THEY KISS ON THE LIPS!’ // ‘EEEEWWW!’ ” By this point Fran’s had enough and heads outside, where he’s reminded by the sight of someone who looks like the bride of Frankenstein just what love is. The others’ response to their talking and gazing at the moon? “Weirdos.” Long’s sense of comic timing is utter perfection, the manic rabbit and its audience’s horrified facial expressions upping the ante. The combination of sassy speech-bubble comments and mushy love talk suits the target audience. Pops of pink brighten the dark colors, mostly black and white with some green and brown.

Hysterically plays on kids’ stereotyped notions of love, hopefully putting some to rest. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 19th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-61963-433-6
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2017




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