cover image Will You Be My Valentine?

Will You Be My Valentine?

Steven Kroll. Holiday House, $15.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-0925-9

In this collaboration between two well-known picture book creators, Kroll's endearing if somewhat precious story features Hoban's characteristically angelic, chubby-cheeked children. Just before Valentine's Day, Thomas's teacher asks her students to pick a name out of a hat to determine which classmate they'll make a Valentine for. When he selects Gretchen's name, Thomas is thrilled, for ``He liked everything about her: her ponytail, her shiny neat bangs, the way she smiled.'' At home, the towhead happily creates an elaborate Valentine for his would-be sweetheart. But at school, the ladylike Gretchen, clad in patterned dress and lacy white pinafore, expresses no interest in Thomas. The half-made Valentine ends up in the trash, until the two children spend a fun-filled Saturday afternoon together, and Thomas resumes work on his card. There's one more glitch before the expected happy, rather sticky-sweet ending. (This rambling tale's overall sweetness, in fact, will most likely find greater favor with girls than with boys.) Ages 4-8. (Feb.)