K-Gr 2 Neil is the only child in Mrs. Connor's class who doesn't look forward to Valentine's Day. He emphatically declares that he gets too many frilly, pink valentines, and he doesn't want any more. When the day comes, his classmates happily exchange cards, and though Neil claims that he feels great, he really doesn't. He is isolated and unhappy until he arrives home where a surprise is waiting. Charming cartoon illustrations augment the lighthearted tone. This slight story is predictable but pleasant, and the vocabulary is well suited to beginning readers. - Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
Copyright 2003 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
McNamara (One Hundred Days [Plus One], above) explores Valentine’s Day in this beginning easy reader, part of her Robin Hill School series set in a first-grade classroom. In this story a boy named Neil announces that he doesn’t want any Valentines because “Valentines are frilly! Valentines are pink!” He comes to regret his decision when all the other children are caught up in the Valentine celebrations, with lots of cards to examine for the rest of the day. Neil’s wise teacher respects his feelings, but then arranges for all the children to sign one Valentine, which is delivered to Neil at home. Some subtle lessons are artfully conveyed within the story: how it feels to stick with a decision to be different and how accommodations can sometimes be made to respect someone’s wishes and allow that person to save face. Teachers will use this as a read-aloud before Valentine’s Day to address the perennial problem of leaving someone off the Valentines list, and new readers will enjoy reading about Neil’s problem and its solution. Gordon’s humorous illustrations in watercolor and ink bring the first-graders to life, with funny little touches (a bird delivering Neil’s card, his cat with the stamp caught on its tongue). Successful easy readers with real stories, humor, and appealing illustrations are always in demand, and the kids of the Robin Hill School first grade seem poised to each star in their own story. (Easy reader. 5-7)
Copyright 2003 Kirkus Reviewsl, LLC Used with permission.