Saint Valentine the ­Kindhearted: The History and Legends of God’s Brave and Loving Servant

IVP Kids. Jan. 2024. 32p. Tr $18. ISBN 9781514008768.
K-Gr 3–Many holidays are rooted in religious rituals, festivals, or stories. Children may not realize that Valentine’s Day did not grow from long-ago tales of little flying cupids, but rather from Saint Valentine, whose stories tell of a priest from Italy who performed Christian marriages even though the emperor commanded that he stop. Bustard’s retelling of the stories of Valentine is written completely in rhyme. Though creating a historical biography in rhyme is quite the feat, it is also a bit jarring. There are times when the rhyme feels a bit forced, and the frequent use of “Val,” instead of Valentine, feels almost too informal. Each spread includes rhyming prose on one side coupled with a brilliant print by Bustard on the other. His prints are a unique joy that convey the meaning of the accompanying prose in a fun, unusual way.
VERDICT Not a necessary addition, this suits better where there is a need for Christian stories for the young about the saints.

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