cover image Arthur's Great Big Valentine

Arthur's Great Big Valentine

Lillian Hoban. HarperCollins Publishers, $14 (60pp) ISBN 978-0-06-022406-6

Arthur's best friend Norman ripped his jacket while they played Tarzan; now Norman will not let Arthur belong to his secret club. It's Valentine's Day, and feeling friendless, Arthur refuses to make a valentine for Norman. He turns down an invitation to a party when he learns that Norman will be there, and spends his time writing verse in the snow: ``Valentines are stupid. / Some people get many. / I don't care / if I never get any.'' Then Norman's little brother Tony confides that Norman has made a Valentine for Arthur. That changes everything; Arthur reciprocates by making a huge Valentine in the snow by Norman's house. This is somewhat protracted for such a slim idea, and it's unfortunate that rather than initiating a truce, Arthur's actions are only in response to Norman's. Still, Hoban's drawings are characteristically full of charm, and fans of the Arthur books will find this a heart-warming addition to the series. Ages 5-8. (Feb.)