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This is Not a Valentine

This is Not a Valentine
Written by Carter Higgins
Illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins
Chronicle £10.99
ISBN: 978-1452153742

A touching, beautiful and very down-to-earth book about really liking someone and not being interested in all the flowers and glitter of Valentine's Day. Set in a primary school on Valentine's Day when, all around them, students are passing red envelopes to each other, this understated book shows a young boy finding one way after another to show a young girl that he really likes and knows her. He knows that her best shoelaces are turquoise, just like the toy-ring he bought her, and that her favourite colours are brown and orange, not pink.

The simple, almost childlike, illustrations are a vital part of the narrative, as they add information and nuance to the text. Readers can enjoy tracing the boy's awkwardness, then growing confidence, as he gives a series of gifts throughout the day. The only card he actually hands over is one that the teacher made them make. Valentine's Day may be more of an institution in the United States where this book was written, however, it's complete lack of sentimentality, yet very genuine tone, makes This is Not a Valentine a delight to read.
Annalise Taylor


About Carousel


Carousel, published 3 times a year is a magazine which aims to inform its readers about the world of children’s books. The contents of each issue include new book, signed reviews ranging from babies to young adults and covering fiction, poetry and information. Alongside are articles and in-depth interviews with authors and illustrators. The editorial team have a vast experience between them of working with young people as teachers, librarians and booksellers. The link between them is their passion for quality children’s books and their belief that every child has the right to be presented with appropriate books.
Elaine & Dave Chant

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Past issues

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