A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Shows regular activities of a school day.
The best valentines are the ones you make on your own, not the ones the teacher tells the class to make. Even getting cooties would be fun with your special friend: "But if you get the cooties and I get the cooties, then we can have cherry juice and chicken soup with rice together." When you like someone, you like that person every day.
Positive Role Models
The boy main character and narrator is kind, thoughtful, generous, creative. The girl is nice, cheerful, appreciative of the boy's notes, gifts, and attention. Diverse kids are shown engaged in their classes, including science, playing well together, and patiently lined up at the water fountain.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that This Is Not a Valentine, by Carter Higgins and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins, follows a boy who gives notes and small gifts to the girl he likes throughout the school day. He insists each one is not a valentine, because it's not pink, glittery, or lacy. It's hard and jagged, for example, when he gives her his lucky rock for hopscotch. All his gifts reflect how well he knows and admires her (like when he gives her a cape because she's his favorite superhero). It's a fresh take on the holiday tradition and a sweet story of friendship and innocent young romance.
Is It Any Good?
This unique Valentine's Day-themed book offers an utterly fresh take on a holiday tradition that can sometimes seem too mushy and too commercial. This Is Not a Valentine makes clear how much the boy likes the girl but in very real, down-to-earth ways. It's the way best friends or sweethearts can feel: You're my favorite person to spend time with every day, and I appreciate what makes you special.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.