A String of Hearts
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A String of Hearts

by Laura Malone Elliott, Lynn Munsinger
     
 

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Valentines come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some are homemadeand some are store-bought. Some are funny and some are not. Sam wants to give just the right valentine to the most popular girl in the class, Tiffany. But what kind is the right kind? Mary Ann helps Sam figure out how to make all sorts of valentines. But will Tiffany even notice Sam if he gives her

Overview

Valentines come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some are homemadeand some are store-bought. Some are funny and some are not. Sam wants to give just the right valentine to the most popular girl in the class, Tiffany. But what kind is the right kind? Mary Ann helps Sam figure out how to make all sorts of valentines. But will Tiffany even notice Sam if he gives her a special valentine?

Laura Malone Elliott and Lynn Munsinger’s charming story shows how the best friends are often the ones you may not know you have—until Valentine’s Day!—and even a simple string of hearts can show a friend how special he is.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Brown bear Sam wants to make a special valentine for a "pretty in purple" cat, Tiffany. His neighbor Mary Ann, a bushy-tailed squirrel, offers to help (though her face falls when he tells her who the card is for), and they construct funny valentines for all of their classmates, along with a purple one for Sam's crush. But when Sam gives it to Tiffany, she doesn't even notice. Munsinger and Elliott sensitively convey classroom popularity dynamics and Valentine's Day butterflies; the moment when Sam realizes that it's Mary Ann he really likes should touch even Valentine's Day grouches. Ages 4–7. (Dec.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Sam, an anthropomorphic bear, is told by his teacher that he must make a valentine for everyone in his class for the Valentine's Day party the next day. And he must write something nice for each. Writing for Tiffany, the popular cat, would be easy. But how can he impress her? Mary Ann, a squirrel, offers to help him. Together they make many appropriate cards. Finally, Sam does his best for Tiffany. But the next day she just drops his card from among all the others she receives. He is depressed until he opens a valentine in his pocket. It is from Mary Ann, a string of hearts with a rhyming line, telling him why she likes him. He then remembers all the things he likes about her. He makes her a special valentine. A promising friendship is obviously ahead. While the visual story is told primarily in watercolors on full-pages and in vignettes that accentuate actions, Munsinger doesn't neglect the emotional content. Facial expressions, particularly Mary Ann's, reflect her deeper feelings. Note her on the jacket as Sam approaches the smug Tiffany, surrounded by hearts. Munsinger adds humor in her naturalistic creation of the other animals that share in the drama as well. And there is also a Valentine's Day lesson here for discussion. A page about Valentine's Day and its history is included. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—The delightful title sets the tone for this sweet story of friendship and a boy's first crush. Sam's teacher, a motherly bear named Mrs. Wright, announces to her students that they will make valentines. "Write something special about each classmate," she instructs. Sam, an earnest cub in a red jersey and jeans, has a crush on Tiffany. When he tells Mary Ann that he wants to make a "really good valentine" to impress the popular cat, she is disappointed but agrees to help him. They spend the afternoon creating imaginative valentines at the loyal squirrel's house. Not knowing anything about Tiffany except her favorite color, Sam decorates her card with purple stickers. She drops the card, and when Sam puts it in his pocket, he finds a surprise: a string of hearts made by Mary Ann. On each one she has listed a reason for liking him. Sam realizes that he can think of lots of good things about her, too, and rushes home to make her a special valentine. The cheery artwork illustrating this heartwarming love triangle shows fluffy, well-dressed animals in bright colors. Their expressive faces mirror the emotions explored in the narrative. A lovely Valentine story about the real meaning of friendship.—Linda L. Walkins, Mount Saint Joseph Academy, Brighton, MA
Kirkus Reviews

When Mrs. Wright instructs the class to make a valentine for everyone, Sam knows his valentine to popular Tiffany has to be very special...but he doesn't know how to make one. Luckily, his neighbor Mary Ann helps him, even though it is obvious that she wishes she were Sam's valentine, not Tiffany. While the next school day does not turn out the way he had hoped, Sam isn't sad for long—a special string of hearts in his pocket makes him realize what a great friend he has in Mary Ann. Munsinger's animal cast is delightfully diverse. They fawn shamelessly over Tiffany, while Mary Ann, who is not afraid to be herself, holds herself apart. Through it all, the strong bond shared by Sam and Mary Ann is evident. While Elliott fails to delve deeply enough into Sam's difficulty in saying nice things about ALL his classmates, this is a solid, albeit predictable, tale of the value of true friends and the façade that sometimes covers popularity. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060000851
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
11/23/2010
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,214,739
Product dimensions:
8.10(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
AD510L (what's this?)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Laura Malone Elliott is the author of the award-winning Hunter's Best Friend at School, Hunter's Big Sister, Hunter & Stripe and the Soccer Showdown, and the first story about Sam and Mary Ann, A String of Hearts, also illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. As L. M. Elliott, she has written books for older readers, including the highly praised Under a War-Torn Sky; its sequel, A Troubled Peace; Flying South; Annie, Between the States; and Give Me Liberty. She lives in Virginia with her husband and their two children.

Lynn Munsinger has illustrated many favorite books for children, including The Teeny Tiny Ghost and Whooo's Haunting the Teeny Tiny Ghost? by Kay Winters. She divides her time between Vermont and Massachusetts.

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