Gail Gibbons adds to her holiday histories (Christmas Is...; Halloween Is...) with Valentine's Day Is..., going back to ancient Rome, when "people celebrated the beginning of spring with a festival," and boys picked girls' names from an urn to be their dates. She also covers Saint Valentine, the contribution of the Duke of Orleans (love poems) and the all-important Cupid. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
With her usual well-researched, deft touch, Gibbons has given us another definitive look at a familiar subject—this time the subject is Valentine's Day. Children will love this straightforward, easy to understand explanation of February 14th's celebration of love and friendship. Starting with the most basic information, the author/illustrator—already well known for her many books explaining holidays, seasons, and other subjects of interest to young people—gives historical background and explanations for the various symbols associated with the holiday. Hearts represent "giving the most important part of yourself;" ribbons come from the Middle Ages when knights competed in tournaments wearing ribbons given to them by their sweethearts for good luck; lace, for trimmings and decorations, is a symbol that comes from a Latin word that means "to snare or net" "as in catching someone's heart," etc. I might add that Cupid is wearing a strategically placed ribbon so as not to upset any sensibilities. The emphasis of the book is about sharing Valentine cards (both serious and silly), candy ("sweets for the sweet"), and good times with those who are loved as sweethearts and friends. She sums up the book by saying "Valentine's Day Is . . . a day of giving and saying I Love You!" The last page gives directions for creating a homemade Valentine. This is yet another perfect gift for those who must explain the world to little people who want to know "why?" 2006, Holiday House, Ages 3 to 8.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-In this engaging book, Gibbons covers the history and customs of the holiday as well as what it means to children today, concluding with simple directions for cutting a heart from folded paper. She introduces each topic with the title phrase, and a few simple sentences add detail. A large attractive illustration in predominantly reds and pinks covers each page, making the book suitable for group sharing. One spread depicts a classroom celebration. A good choice for updating holiday collections.-Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
In her signature style, Gibbons explains the origins, traditions and symbols of Valentine's Day. There are some good stories here, and young readers will enjoy the intriguing vignettes, including one about "a kind man named Valentine," who gave a letter to his friend's blind daughter, and when she opened the letter-signed "from your Valentine-her vision was restored. Cupid, Gibbons explains, "was the God of love in ancient Rome." Lace, she writes, is a Latin word that means " 'to snare or net,' as in catching someone's heart," which is why it's used to decorate valentines. Each colorful spread starts with the titular line: "Valentine's Day Is . . . " and is packed with visual detail. With instructions for making a heart-shaped card, this makes a nice addition to Gibbons's holiday oeuvre. (Picture book. 4-8)