Saint Valentine

( 2 )

Overview


Every February 14 we exchange cards and flowers as expressions of love. Valentine's Day is among our most popular holidays, But what do the words "Be my valentine" mean? Who was Valentine? We know he lived in third-century Rome, during the reign of Claudius II. We know that he was a Christian priest. But he lived during a period of military anarchy, when many of Rome's records were destroyed. The facts of Valentine's life have been lost to history. What survive, however, are legends. And legends often contain ...
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Overview


Every February 14 we exchange cards and flowers as expressions of love. Valentine's Day is among our most popular holidays, But what do the words "Be my valentine" mean? Who was Valentine? We know he lived in third-century Rome, during the reign of Claudius II. We know that he was a Christian priest. But he lived during a period of military anarchy, when many of Rome's records were destroyed. The facts of Valentine's life have been lost to history. What survive, however, are legends. And legends often contain the residue of truth. Ann Tompert beautifully weaves together the most enduing stories of Valentine to create a tapestry of the saint's life, while Kestutis Kasparivicius's illustrations take the reader back to ancient Rome. Together, author and illustrator pierce the historical fog that surrounds Saint Valentine to offer a glimpse of the man whose life remains a mystery.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
What little is known about Saint Valentine, in whose honor we exchange cards, gifts and romantic pleasantries on February 14, is woven into this picture book by Ann Trompert (who has penned biographies of Saint Patrick and Joan of Arc), illus. by Kestutis Kasparavicius. The author builds on facts-that Valentine was a Christian priest in third-century Rome, for example-and combines them with legend to offer a portrait of a man steadfast in his religious beliefs and his duty to share his faith with others, even in the face of persecution. The people in Kasparavicius's watercolors have an odd stone-mosaic appearance, with lines emphasized on their faces and bodies. An instructive author's note is included. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
There are few facts known and many legends about the saint who has given his name to the holiday we celebrate on February 14th. He was born in or near Rome in the third century, a Christian priest at a time when Christians were still persecuted. Among the stories told about him is that he sent cutout hearts to comfort imprisoned Christians. He is said to have married soldiers when the emperor Claudius II forbade his soldiers to be married, which cause Valentine to be imprisoned. He tried to convert the emperor, who in turn tried unsuccessfully to make Valentine renounce his religion. The story is that he caused a blind girl to see, gaining converts. But finally he was put to death, traditionally on February 14th around 270 A.D. Naturalistic, detailed, full-page scenes and vignettes describe aspects of third century Rome along with clothing and crafts. Watercolors and black line drawings are effective in paralleling the somewhat low key of the text. There is a sense of peace dominating the pictures, with no harsh color contrasts or descriptions of physical pain. Notes add more factual background. 2004, Boyds Mills Press, Ages 6 to 10.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Kirkus Reviews
Tompert has done an expert job of weaving the tiny strands of fact about the life of Saint Valentine with the lovely legends that have grown around his name into a bright volume that also provides a glimpse into Roman life and Christian persecution. What is known is that Valentine was a Christian priest during the reign of the Roman emperor Claudius II in the third century. Tompert recounts the legend that Valentine consoled Christians imprisoned for their faith by sending them hearts cut out of parchment; and that he performed secret wedding ceremonies for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. Sent by the emperor to live with a lieutenant instructed to convert Valentine by any means necessary, Valentine instead converted the lieutenant and his entire household to Christianity. They were all martyred for their faith, and an almond tree blossomed on Valentine's grave on February 14th for many years. Kasparavicius's watercolors use hieratic forms and strong lines so that they almost appear carved in stone. He uses Roman architecture and interiors softened by color washes and growing things. A lovely valentine. (Picture book/biography. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590781814
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2004
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Ann Tompert has written many award-winning books for children, including the picture book biographies, Saint Nicholas, Joan of Arc, and Saint Patrick. She lives in Port Huron, Michigan.

Kestutis Kasparavicius has illustrated more than thirty books for children, including Ann Tompert's Pied Piper of Peru. In 1993, he was honored as Illustrator of the Year by the Bologna Book Fair. He lives in Vilnius, Lithuania.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2004

    IMAGINED LIFE OF A FAVORITE SAINT

    While all certainly know the name St. Valentine and what his namesake day has come to represent, there is precious little actually known about the life of this saint. Much of our information is pure legend. Author Tompert takes the most lasting stories and uses them as a springboard for this picture book recommended for young readers, age 6 and up. We do know that St. Valentine lived in Rome during the 3rd century and the reign of Claudius II.. It is a fact that he was a Christian priest; all other knowledge of him is lost. However, one of the most enduring stories about him is that he performed secret weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. He believed that dictate to be unjust. Author Tompert carries this legend further by imagining that Claudius was furious upon hearing this, and had Valentine thrown into jail. Perhaps this legend is the basis for our contemporary celebration of St. Valentine's Day. The soft watercolor illustrations depicting ancient Rome are dramatic. Full page paintings reflect the dress and surroundings of that day. - Gail Cooke

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2004

    AN IMAGINED STORY OF A SAINT

    While all certainly know the name St. Valentine and what his namesake day has come to represent, there is precious little actually known about the life of this saint. Much of our information is pure legend. Author Tompert takes the most lasting stories and uses them as a springboard for this picture book recommended for young readers, age 6 and up. We do know that St. Valentine lived in Rome during the 3rd century and the reign of Claudius II.. It is a fact that he was a Christian priest; all other knowledge of him is lost. However, one of the most enduring stories about him is that he performed secret weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. He believed that dictate to be unjust. Author Tompert carries this legend further by imagining that Claudius was furious upon hearing this, and had Valentine thrown into jail. Perhaps this legend is the basis for our contemporary celebration of St. Valentine's Day. The soft watercolor illustrations depicting ancient Rome are dramatic. Full page paintings reflect the dress and surroundings of that day.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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