Here Comes Valentine Cat

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Here Comes Valentine Cat Book Poster Image
Cat drops anti-dog bias in funny friendship tale.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Shows some typical characteristics of dogs, such as liking bones and balls. Shows some features of Valentine's Day: sending cards and giving presents and flowers.

Positive Messages

Don't hold on to prejudices about whole groups of those who are different from you. You might be surprised to find someone of a group you think you dislike who makes a good neighbor and friend. "Valentine's Day doesn't have to be all mushy"; you can make a Valentine's Day card for a friend.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Cat assumes the worst about Dog at first but then realizes Dog has been reaching out as a friend. Cat shows you can change; you don't have to hold on to your prejudices. Dog is nice and generous and wants to be friends. The narrator is kind and patient and lets Cat know when he's being mean or selfish.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Here Comes Valentine Cat is another holiday-inspired romp from the author-illustrator team of Deborah Underwood and Claudia Rueda, following Here Comes Santa Cat and Here Comes the Easter Cat. This Valentine story is about friendship, not romance, and shows that even dogs and cats can be friends. The broader message is you can be friends with anyone if you don't let your biases and assumptions stand in the way.

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What's the story?

Cat is in a '"No-Valentines Zone" because he thinks it's too mushy. But when the narrator explains that you can make a Valentine's Day card for a friend, he reconsiders. The narrator suggests he give one to the dachshund on the other side of his fence to welcome him to the neighborhood. But Cat assumes Dog is mean because he's thrown bones and a ball over the fence and hit Cat on the head. But after Dog sends Cat a valentine over the fence, Cat realizes the other items were gifts and makes his own card for Dog.

Is it any good?

Cat learns to drop his prejudice and open up to his neighbor in this cute Valentine's Day story. In the typical motif of this series, the narrator asks Cat questions, and Cat answers by holding up signs with mainly images on them. The jokes are light and funny, as Cat once again conquers his negative tendencies.

Claudia Rueda's spare but expressive illustrations perfectly capture all the shifts in Cat's changing emotions. And the broader point about not holding on to preconceived notions about others is a great message for kids -- and grown-ups.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about cats and dogs. Can they be friends in real life? Do you have pets of different species that get along fine?

  • What's funny about this and the other books in the series? Is it that Cat talks by holding up signs the narrator reads? Or is it Cat's personality? Or maybe the way he's drawn?

  • What do you like best about Valentine's Day: the cards or the candy?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love picture books and tales of love

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