A girl's love for Valentine's Day lies at the heart of Poydar's (The Perfectly Horrible Halloween) snappy story set in a multiracial urban classroom. "I'm going to wear all red tomorrow: red top, red bottom, red tights. I even have a red name!" Ruby declares on the eve of the holiday. Her enthusiasm for Cupid's holiday is only slightly dampened when a winter wind steals the rhyming valentines she's created for classmates, for the verses soon find their way to other pleased recipients. The text rollicks along, blending onomatopoeic prose ("Whip, dip, went the wind./ Wap, snap, went the bag") with Ruby's unadorned rhymes ("Roses are red./ Violets are blue./ Don't stay in bed./ There's too much to do!"). Poydar, a former teacher, knowingly captures the holiday excitement found in primary classrooms. Ruby's infectious smile may well bring out the same in readers, as they watch her cavort across the spreads. In one, the African-American heroine practically strides from the page as she happily high-steps through puddles in her red outfit. For those inspired by Ruby's example, directions for making a paper heart conclude this brisk and cheery tale. Ages 4-8. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Ruby is positively thrilled that Valentine's Day is nearing and declares to her friends at school that her favorite color is red and that she even has "a red name." When the 14th finally arrives, the sky is gray and the wind, blustery. Ruby's father announces that it is a fine day to stay in bed, to which the girl responds, "Roses are red./Violets are blue./Don't stay in bed./There's too much to do!" On her way to school, a gust of wind blows open her sack of handmade cards, and the missives are swept away into the swirling snow. The day is eventually saved when Ruby remembers the box of small candy hearts with messages given to her by her parents that morning and distributes them to her friends. Children will delight in Ruby's resourcefulness and the colorful, textural paintings that capture her excitement. The illustrations feature a multiethnic cast of characters along with some urban scenes. A solid read-aloud selection to celebrate this red-letter day.-Kristin de Lacoste, South Regional Public Library, Pembroke Pines, FL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.