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FIRST VALENTINE by Kallie George


by Kallie George ; illustrated by Joelle Murray

Pub Date: Dec. 6th, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-338-80393-8
Publisher: Cartwheel/Scholastic

Valentine’s Day is all about hearts, but in this tale, some other shapes sneak in, too.

A “little friend” opens a valentine kit and, with moral support from their pet dog, attempts to make a heart-shaped valentine. But creating a heart is not as easy as it seems, and the child’s snipping and paper trimming ultimately result in a circle, a square, a rectangle, a triangle, and a star—and an ideal opportunity to review basic shapes. All the protagonist has to show for their work is a lot of frustration and a “great, big mess”—until they look at the shapes they’ve thrown on the floor. When the child adds glitter, ribbons, and some glue, the shapes come together to make a lovely piece of art and a valentine that’s “full of heart,” and the little one and their parents embrace—the perfect way to cap a family’s love-filled Valentine’s Day. At first, rhyming stanzas point readers toward the child’s goal of creating a heart, but page turns reveal a different shape. The rhyme in later stanzas provides clues and encourages listeners to guess the new shape. The little friend and their parents have dark brown skin. Featuring an adorable, wide-eyed tyke and plenty of pink and red, the illustrations capture the child’s diligent efforts at creating a heart and their emotional reaction to each seemingly failed—but ultimately successful—attempt. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A Valentine’s Day review of shapes and a reminder that the perfect heart is the one full of love.

(Picture book. 3-6)