cover image Valentine


Carol Carrick. Clarion Books, $16 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-395-66554-1

When Heather says good-bye to her mom one Valentine's Day morning, she speaks for many children of working parents: ``Why do you always have to go to work?... I don't want you to go.'' But in this quiet, James Herriot-style story, Heather's self-pity evaporates as she tends the sickly newborn lamb Grandma discovers later that morning in the barn. Grandma warms him with a hairdryer, and Heather wraps him up in her blanket and feeds him a bottle. He recovers and Heather names him Valentine. When Mama returns, Heather says proudly, ``He needs me. ... His mother can't take care of him.'' Credibly and sensitively, Carrick (Two Very Little Sisters) portrays Heather's sadness, anger and happy realization that mothers are not the only ones who can love and care for their children (or lambs). Bouma's (One More Time) illustrations-soft washes of color bound by airy pencil marks-heighten the ingenuous tone of the story. Ages 5-8. (Jan.)