cover image The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever

The Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever

Brenda A. Ferber, illus. by Tedd Arnold. Dial, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3505-7

Floppy-haired Leon is wrestling with his heart—literally. When he creates a valentine heart for his crush, the wide-eyed card takes off running through Arnold’s comic book–style spreads. “You give me to Zoey Maloney and we’ll be the laughingstock of the whole school!” insists the freaked-out valentine. Kids on the playground offer their perspectives on love, ranging from “Eew!” to concern: “But does Zoey Maloney love you back?” Ferber sticks to traditional gender dynamics (the boys respond to news of Leon’s crush with disgust, while the girls swoon), but she also navigates the palm-sweating sweetness of first love with tenderness, humorously echoed by Arnold’s nervy graphics. Ages 3–up. Agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Dec.)