The Mystery of the Love List

by Sarah Glenn Marsh (Author) Ishaa Lobo (Illustrator)

The Mystery of the Love List
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
A heart-warming Valentine's mystery Pippa's teacher tells her students to make a love list--a list of all the things that take up room in their hearts. Pippa makes her list, but when she finds someone else's and sees that her own name has been written down, along with all of her favorite things, she discovers she has a secret admirer! Maybe the best friend she's always hoped for is right in her classroom, if only she can crack the case. Good thing there's nothing Pippa loves more than a good detective story. Will she solve the mystery of the love list and find a new friend?

Kirkus Reviews

A fun case of elementary deduction.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2--Mystery-loving Pippa the porcupine has a problem: Valentine's Day is coming and her whole class is working on their "love lists" of "things that take up room in your heart." Pippa, who would rather read the latest "Sherlock Gnomes" mystery novel than make a list, sadly doesn't have a best friend to share things with. She soon learns, however, that a mysterious classmate has added Pippa to a love list and wants to be her friend. How can she figure out who it is? Using a variety of clues, Pippa sets about solving the mystery of the new best friend, who turns out to be quiet, shy, easily overlooked Mitzi the Mouse. Charming illustrations include several visual clues (such as Mitzi reading the same book Pippa loves) and the text includes a few silly puns (a game of "Deer, Deer, Moose" rather than "Duck, Duck, Goose") that are perfect for young readers. Though the opening line, "When you're the only porcupine in your class you stand out" doesn't lead anywhere--there is only one of each type of animal represented--this is a sweet Valentine's Day story with a mystery twist. VERDICT A fine addition to holiday story collections for young readers.--Sue Morgan

Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

During a Valentine's Day art assignment, lonely, mystery-loving Pippa, the only porcupine in her animalian class, finds herself following clues to discover a secret admirer in this sprightly friendship tale. Pippa is not enthused when Mr. Tod tasks everyone with making a "love list": "a list of things that take up room in your heart." But when another classmate's love list gets tangled in her quills, and Pippa's name is among its entries, she learns that "somewhere in these halls, she has a best-friend-in-waiting!" Her humorous sleuthing methods don't deliver great results--until she looks at the photos she's taken and finally sees what observant readers will have known all along. Marsh weaves sweet and silly notes into a mini mystery with a happy reveal. Debut illustrator Lobo also has an eye for fun, serving up a welcoming forest school and a menagerie of friendly-looking pupils; Pippa's flowing quills and stylish "Beastly Boys" band T-shirt are among the memorable details. Ages 3-7. (Dec.)

Copyright 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"A good choice for budding mystery enthusiasts as well as a Valentine's Day read-aloud." -Booklist

"The book offers a refreshing definition of Valentine's Day as a celebration of the tenderness we feel towards our friends and passions, and young readers will delight in identifying the visual clues that lead to Pippa's best-friend-in-waiting before she discovers them herself." -BCCB

Sarah Glenn Marsh
Sarah Glenn Marsh is an author of several young adult novels and over half a dozen picture books. When she's not writing, she loves creating pottery and painting it in exciting new colors. She lives with her husband and many pets, including four dogs and three birds, in Richmond, Virginia.

Hallye Webb is an illustrator and designer based in New York City. Drawing inspiration from the Wisconsin farm where she grew up, her Mexican heritage, and the art of storytelling, she hopes her work inspires readers to love and care for their communities and our planet. She lives near Central Park with her husband Stephen and their dog Moss.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication date
December 20, 2022
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV028000 - Juvenile Fiction | Mysteries, Espionage, & Detective Stories
JUV017070 - Juvenile Fiction | Holidays & Celebrations | Valentine's Day
Library of Congress categories
Picture books

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