Saint Valentine

( 4 )

Overview

How did Valentine's Day, one of our most popular holidays, begin?
It started in ancient Rome when a kind physician named Valentine took an interest in a young blind girl. With his healing skill and his deep faith he restored her sight. What we now call Valentine's Day began when he sent the little girl a secret message, which she received after the Christian martyr was executed. For this tale rich in sentiment, master illustrator Robert Sabuda has created exquisite paper mosaics...

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Overview

How did Valentine's Day, one of our most popular holidays, begin?
It started in ancient Rome when a kind physician named Valentine took an interest in a young blind girl. With his healing skill and his deep faith he restored her sight. What we now call Valentine's Day began when he sent the little girl a secret message, which she received after the Christian martyr was executed. For this tale rich in sentiment, master illustrator Robert Sabuda has created exquisite paper mosaics to suggest early Christian art that resonates with both subtlety and power.

Recounts an incident in the life of St. Valentine, a physician who lived some 200 years after Christ, in which he treated a small child for blindness.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Stunning mosaics crafted from marbleized and hand-painted paper depict this legend of Valentine, a humble Roman physician and "priest of the Christians'' whose patients include a jailer's blind daughter. Recognizing the danger of praying to a single god (rather than to the numerous gods most Romans worship), Valentine prays for his patients only at night, but he is eventually imprisoned. Aware of his fate, he writes to the jailer's daughter, who receives her sight when a crocus drops into her hand from the scroll her father reads is "from your Valentine.'' The book's matter-of-fact narrative (some explanations are simplified for the intended audience) rightly points the reader's attention to Sabuda's intricately conceived mosaics. The marbleized paper creates subtle textures and shading, while vertical illustrations exude drama and compassion. Sabuda extends his mosaic motif onto the white space by constantly expanding and fragmenting it with full-page illustrations; tall, rectangular frames; patterned border strips and blocks of type. The resulting interplay of geometric shapes and color lends an especially appropriate classical appearance to this singular work. Ages 6-9. (Oct.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"Stunning mosaics of marbleized and hand-painted paper depict this legend of Valentine," said PW in a starred review. Ages 4-7. (Jan.)
Children's Literature - Alexandria LaFaye
We hear about St. Valentine's Day all our lives, but few people know much about the man who the holiday is named for. This thoughtful and touching book tells the story of Valentine the man. He was a Roman physician who used herbal medicine to heal people and who defied the Roman government by worshipping a single god. This book tells the story of how he cured a child's blindness and sent her the first "valentine" before he was executed by the Romans for his religious beliefs. Based on facts and myths of his life, this book provides an interesting view of Valentine the man. The beautiful mosaic illustrations add to the historic feel of the book.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3 -- Valentine was a physician and a Christian priest who often prayed on his patients' behalf. One day the emperor's jailer brought his blind daughter to Valentine asking for a cure. Although the treatments didn't give the child sight, a strong friendship was born and flourished until the Roman soldiers destroyed the physician's home and imprisoned him. Before his execution, he sent the child a note with a crocus enclosed, and she, " . . . for the first time watched its color dazzle like the rays of the afternoon sun.'' Sabuda ends with information about the beliefs surrounding the saint and the holiday. The fluid, straightforward retelling of the legend is accompanied by evocative, mosaiclike illustrations created from colored cut paper. Varying sizes of illustrations, careful page placement, and effective use of white space create the impression of the large-scale period mosiacs. A fine melding of text and art. --Maria B. Salvadore, District of Columbia Pub . Lib .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689824296
  • Publisher: Aladdin
  • Publication date: 1/1/1999
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 553,362
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.38 (w) x 10.25 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Sabuda

Robert Sabuda is one of the most innovative and inventive children's book creators and is known worldwide for his amazing pop-up paper engineering. His books include Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Twelve Days of Christmas, The Night Before Christmas, The Winter's Tale, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, to name but afew, have garnered numerous awards and have made the New York Times bestseller lists on many occasions. He lives in New York City.

Robert Sabuda is one of the most innovative and inventive children's book creators and is known worldwide for his amazing pop-up paper engineering. His books include Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Twelve Days of Christmas, The Night Before Christmas, The Winter's Tale, Peter Pan, Beauty and the Beast, to name but afew, have garnered numerous awards and have made the New York Times bestseller lists on many occasions. He lives in New York City.

Biography

Pop-up books are true oddities of children's publishing. They are charmingly quaint and old-fashioned, yet eternally popular. They've been around for ages, but precious few creative souls set out to become pop-up artists. This, however, is not the case with Robert Sabuda, who seems to have been born to make pop-up books.

Sabuda made his first step toward becoming one of the most ingenious pop-up artists in contemporary publishing as a very young child. He grew up in a household where books were held in the highest regard and reading was always encouraged. He has fond memories of being read to by his mother when he was a little boy. Sabuda's first encounter with a pop-up book occurred in a dentist office. Anxious about his appointment, young Robert's mother read a pop-up book with him to take his mind off the dentist's chair. He was instantly hooked.

Sabuda's background as a gifted artist also played a key role in his future career. As a kid, he was fortunate enough to be encouraged in his artistic pursuits by his teachers and his parents, his father being a mason and carpenter. He inherited from his dad a lifelong fascination with construction and avidly studied the pop-up books he received as gifts to find out what made them work. Imaginative and curious, he even made his own pop-ups out of discarded manila envelopes his mom brought home from her office.

This childhood hobby would prove invaluable, as an older Sabuda set out on a career in children's books. He got his start as a journeyman illustrator working with such writers as Eugene Bradley Coco (The Fiddler's Son; Wishing Well) and Jay Patrick Lewis (Earth Verses and Water Rhymes). He even worked on adaptations of Walt Whitman classics geared toward young readers.

Sabuda's first solo effort was Saint Valentine (1992), a retelling of the ancient tale of a humble Roman physician who brings about a miracle. The focal point of this charmingly simple story is Sabuda's illustrations, a series of intricate, exquisite mosaics made of marbleized and hand-painted paper that simulate the look of early Christian art. Proof of a craftsmanship rarely seen in children's books, Saint Valentine and its sequel, Tutankhamen's Gift, revealed the illustrator's uncanny talent for creating unconventional art.

In 1994, Sabuda discovered his niche with The Christmas Alphabet, a seasonal delight filled with eye-catching pop-ups and crafted with an elegance as appealing to adults as to children. The Christmas Alphabet was the first in a long line of remarkable paper-engineered wonders covering a wide range of subject matter. He would adapt famous tales (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; Alice's Adventures in Wonderland), tackle contemporary issues (the Help the Animals series), and tell completely original stories (Winter's Tale).

Some of Sabuda's finest work has been done in collaboration with his partner and good friend Matthew Reinhart. Between them, these two pop-up geniuses have produced stunning work, including two wonderful science-oriented series, the Young Naturalist's Pop-up Handbook and the Encyclopedia Prehistorica. And although each has become increasingly involved in independent projects, they continue to influence each other in subtle and dramatic ways.

In explaining the attraction of the pop-up genre to today's technologically savvy kids, Sabuda says,. "I think [kids] are drawn to pop-up books because so much in their world today to them seems like magic, electronically," Sabuda told Barnes & Noble.com. "So, when they see one of my pop-ups books and they open it, they're amazed that it's occurring just by turning the page... that there's no electronics or bells or whistles to make that happen. I know that just from a creative part, they love seeing that magic occur."

Good To Know

As a boy, Sabuda took tap lessons at a local dance school, where he also furthered his artistic abilities by designing backdrops.

Shortly after graduating from Pratt Institute in New York City, Sabuda made ends meet by designing boxes for women's underwear.

Sabuda's first work in children's publishing was as an illustrator of coloring books, which books based on such popular movie characters as the very non-kid-friendly Rambo.

Sabuda shared some fun facts about himself in our interview:

"My first job was as a hardware stock boy and I LOVED it. To this day, when someone says 'Home Depot,' I start salivating like Pavlov's dog."

"I'm inspired to create the work that I do because I really don't know how to do anything else. Besides it's a bit of a curse, too. I always have so many ideas that I feel like I'll never get to them all."

"I don't know how to drive a car and have no desire to learn."

"My partner (author/illustrator) Matthew Reinhart and I just got an 1830's farmhouse in up state New York. Having it renovated has been a great project. It's like working on a huge pop-up that you can live in."

"To unwind, I do yoga, but my practice is pretty average. But I can do a headstand, away from the wall, which for me is a really big deal!"

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 8, 1965
    2. Place of Birth:
      Pinckney, Michigan
    1. Education:
      B.F.A., Pratt Institute, 1987
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2003

    A Good book for school

    My son is in pre-k at a catholic school, and I am the room mother. I am always looking for age appropriate educational books for story time. I like this book a lot. The mosaics are great, and the story is both lovely and informative. I am pleased that the content is so age appropriate. A lot of these Saints died horrible deaths, you know? Good book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2009

    Engaging story about the myth behind how Valentine's Day began

    Excellent read for grades 1-5. Very interesting and full of information that engaged my class. A way to explain the holiday aside from the hearts, kisses, and hallmark cards.

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

    Posted December 18, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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