cover image Love, Ruby Valentine

Love, Ruby Valentine

Laurie B. Friedman, , illus. by Lynne Avril Cravath. . Lerner/Carolrhoda, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-57505-899-3

The eponymous heroine learns the real meaning of a certain February holiday in this fluffy tale. Ruby Valentine (a resident of Heartland and owner of a cockatoo named Lovebird) has her epiphany after devoting a week to making a wagonload of heart-shaped cards, cookies and cakes to distribute around town on February 14th. But her labors so exhaust her that she accidentally sleeps through the holiday. When she abjectly hands out her tokens of affection on February 15th, however, Friedman (A Style All Her Own ) points out that, "no one seemed to mind!/ They just thanked and hugged her/ for being sweet and kind." The next spread delivers the moral: "Saying,/ 'I love you!'/ doesn't have to wait 'til Valentine's—/ any day will do." With her red topknot and a perpetual spring in her step, Ruby is the very definition of spunk, and it seems almost cranky to quibble with the sunny energy and cheery, greeting card–esque sentiment in Cravath's (The Two Sillies ) watercolor-and-ink drawings. Yet the illustrator does nothing to convey any kind of seasonal feel; in these pages, Valentine's Day seems to fall somewhere around Memorial Day. Youngsters who identify with the overachieving heroine, however, will cheer her discovery of a way to expand her passions all year long. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)