Farmer (O Christmas Tree, 2010) offers a compelling survey of the history, legends, traditions and symbols of Valentine’s Day for the primary school set.
This nonfiction title is best read cover to cover instead of flipped through to locate specific information, since there is no table of contents or index to aid in locating specific facts. Readers first learn that the holiday’s origins can be traced to ancient Rome, but they will be intrigued to learn how religious figures, a poet, an imprisoned nobleman and an entrepreneurial woman in Massachusetts called the “Mother of the American Valentine” have all helped shape this special day in February. The information is presented succinctly, on topical pages consisting of a few paragraphs of text, and illustrators Halsey and Addy add playful touches with their mixed-media collage utilizing photographs, vintage clip art, hand-drawn images and acrylic paints. After the history has been covered, readers learn more about the significance of the holiday symbols and traditions involving Cupid, doves, hearts, chocolates and flowers. A couple of quick craft projects, a page of Valentine’s Day jokes and a smattering of quotes about love interspersed throughout the book all add appeal for young students.
A solid nonfiction offering; libraries should buy multiples. (Nonfiction. 6-9)