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This Is Not a Valentine

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  487 ratings  ·  122 reviews
This book is not a valentine. It doesn't have lacey edges or sugary hearts. But it is full of lucky rocks, secret hiding spots, and gumball machine treasures. This is a book about waiting in line and wishing for cinnamon buns. About recognizing that if you care so much about someone not thinking you care, maybe you really do. But wait—isn't that exactly what love is about? ...more
Kindle Edition, 48 pages
Published December 26th 2017 by Chronicle Books
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  487 ratings  ·  122 reviews

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La Coccinelle
Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
There were parts of this book that I liked, but there were some others that seemed kind of problematic, and the whole thing felt a bit uneven to me.

Mainly, the thing I noticed is that the book feels dated. There are mentions of cursive (which isn't even taught anymore), a kid giving the jelly side of her PB&J to her friend (let's hope he doesn't have a deadly peanut allergy), and the mention of a number of old-fashioned games (that I'm not even sure are played anymore). As an adult, all of those
This might be asking too much, but I would have loved to see this message of devotion be demonstrably reciprocated. It might be the world we are living in, but it bothered me to see a boy obsessively give gifts to a girl and the girl is never given a chance to respond or even speak. I might have to look at this one in a year or two.
Ms. Yingling
Feb 04, 2018 rated it liked it
E ARC provided by the publisher

Two elementary school students clearly enjoy spending time together, and the boy is especially fond of the girl. Throughout the day, he gives her little gifts that he clearly states are NOT Valentines, since they are not the stereotypical pink, glittery, lacey, sugary sorts of gifts that most people give. Instead, he gives her gifts that he know she will like such as a red superhero cape, a ring that matches her shoelaces, and a rock. At the end of the book, the bo
Baby Bookworm
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: our-reviews

This review was originally written for The Baby Bookworm. Visit us for new picture books reviews daily!

Hello friends and Happy Valentine’s Day! We’ve got a special book for today to mark the occasion: This Is NOT A Valentine, written by Carter Higgins and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins.

After his friend gives him a valentine, the hero of our story wants to show his gratitude with a gift of his own. He doesn’t have any valentines of his own though – nothing with pretty curling text or bright pin
Amanda Schreiber
Dec 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I adored this charming picture book by Carter Higgins! I can’t wait to stare this with my students for Valentines Day. From the already blown out wishes to lunch box PB & J students will relate to the ways we show others that we care - but of course they are NOT Valentines. A must own for classroom libraries.
Mary Lee
This is a book about being friends EVERY day, not just that one day in February.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Picture-Books Suitable for Valentine's Day
Although the young boy-narrator of this sweet little picture-book insists that each gift and message he gives his friend is NOT a Valentine, it is clear that they indicate great fondness and attachment. They also demonstrate that the boy knows the object of his affections quite well, from her interests to her preferred colors. In the end, despite the absence of glitter and chocolate, can it really be said that these aren't Valentines...?

A warmhearted look at young friendship, one that explores t
Although the narrator firmly insists that this book is no Valentine with all the usual elements associated with that holiday such as glitter, chocolates, and lacy edges, it actually is a message of love. After all, love can be expressed in many different ways such as sharing a secret hiding place or a lucky stone or part of a sandwich. The wry quality of the text and the slyly matter of fact illustrations, created with brush marker, gouache, graphite, colored pencil, crayon, ink, and charcoal, c ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kate Olson
Dec 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sweet demonstration of friendship that lasts all year long, not just on February 14th. And also a cute story around the theme of "thou doth protest too much"! This is a perfect story for reading any time, but especially around the Valentine Day holiday to help show that we can show we care in so many different ways, and that a "typical" mushy gushy Valentine isn't the only acceptable format. The poetic text coupled with the simple but charming illustrations make this a great read aloud selecti ...more
Mar 01, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
My feelings on this book are mixed. The underlying premise is sweet, with Valentines that are not of the purchased variety and the idea that one day a year isn’t enough to show someone you care, but it is just put together in an inconsistent way. Cutish illustrations, and I do love that he gives her a superhero cape since she’s his favorite superhero.
Mary Hamer
Look out Extra gum commercial...this book gives just as many feels! It is young love wrapped up perfectly in one little package with the sweetest illustrations. Will read again and again!
Kate Buechler
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm not crying, YOU'RE crying. I loved this book. ...more
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens, favorites
This is the cutest damn book ever and I want to receive every gift in it.
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
So sweet. Good for upper elementary.
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It is a greeting given in friendship. It is a written declaration of devotion. It is a token of endearment. On February 14th, collectively by more people than any other day of the year, love is celebrated. Brave souls will reveal their sincere feelings for others. If the fondness is known, shared and has stood the test of time, it is honored for the treasure it is.

You can be a Valentine, the cherished individual, or you can give someone a Valentine, a greeting, a declaration or a token. This is
Maria Rowe
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
I’m really feeling this book. I think it’s a little weird this little girl gave a boy a Valentine then he follows he around giving her lots of “not Valentine’s”. The paper airplane he shot at her while drinking from a water fountain bothered me too. I mean, for the most part the little girl seems happy to be getting little gifts, but, maybe it would have helped if some of the story was from her perspective?

I’m not really sure what the message is - maybe that paper Valentine’s aren’t really abou
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is so adorable! I love how the words and pictures tell a story of a sweet friendship between two classmates. The words are perfect and the pictures complement the prose perfectly. I want to give this book to my husband for Valentine's Day! ...more
Patricia N. McLaughlin
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-books
Isn’t love about reciprocity? Then this story is about something else—obsession? compulsion? Give the girl agency and a voice, and then maybe it’s about love. Otherwise, this is definitely not a book about valentines. Cute illustrations earn a second star.
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Agree with other 2-star reviews ... while the concept of tailoring gifts to the recipient's likes and interests is a nice pushback on "give a girl jewelry or chocolates," it was odd that the boy was throwing things at her ALL DAY. Settle down. ...more
Niki (Daydream Reader)
This is a perfect read aloud book for Valentine's Day! So sweet! ...more
Julie Guzzetta
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Such a sweet and charming book! One of the other reviewers said it best - it's about all the ways that love can be expressed without typical "valentines" gifts and cards. ...more
Alyssa Gudenburr
I loved this book! It was about all the ways a boy shows he loves a girl that is not in the traditional Valentines way. Would make a great elementary or one-on-one story.
Ali Book&Seaglasshunter
Apr 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to @kidlitexchange for the review copy of this book-all opinions are my own. #kidlitexchange #partner

Do you remember your first elementary school “puppy love”? This book perfectly captures those sweet and innocent feelings between two little friends. After receiving a Valentine’s card from his friend, a young boy tries his best to return perfectly special gifts to his friend. Although they aren’t as fancy as museum jewels, dainty lace, or glittery and pink; the boys gifts show his underst
Ben Truong
This Is Not a Valentine is a children's picture book written by Carter Higgins and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins. After a small girl gives a boy a valentine, he finds all kinds of ways to show her he cares, but not with a valentine. As today is Valentine’s Day (14 February), I thought it would be apropos to read this book.

Higgins' text is simplistic and straightforward. With simple and honest words, the narrative tells a story about a boy reciprocating a Valentine's Day gift that a little gav
Michelle (FabBookReviews)

4.5 stars

Even though it will likely protest this statement, This Is Not a Valentine might just be the most perfect Valentine! Readers, through the eyes of an adamant young protagonist, get to learn about all the ways that certain things (kinds of flowers, kinds of hand drawn pictures, grocery store rings in plastic cases that match your favourite shoelaces, hand-folded paper airplanes, etc.) are definitely, absolutely NOT Valentine's... As our young protagonist explains his way through how his
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Interest Level: K-3; Reading Level: 3.7

@kidlitexchange #partner Thanks to the @kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book - all opinions are my own.

What exactly does a Valentine look like? Red hearts and glitter? Not always! Valentines can come in the form of dandelions and rings from a plastic container and capes and rocks. This is such a sweet story of friendship, not just on Valentine's Day, but the whole year. Students of all ages will enjoy this story because it is so much like
Bailey Holt
This is NOT a Valentine is a story about a boy probably in upper elementary school. He gives little gifts to this girl in school. He gives her things that are not typical valentine gifts. He gives her things that she likes or that make him think if her. He says that all of these objects are not valentines, because he likes her all the time that the school bell rings, so the final gift he gives her is a bell.
I enjoyed this book, because the boy put thought into every little gift he gives the gir
This was a sweet, poetically written Valentine's title, a kindhearted, gentle plot and a clear message that THIS is NOT a Valentine, but gifts of different varieties for every type of day. I found it incredibly charming, but way over my 4 year old's head. This book, I think, is better aimed for middle to upper elementary ages to grasp the point. It was a really nice change from the average children's Valentine's Day books packed full of tropes and superficial hiccups. There's only so many times ...more
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Carter Higgins is the author of the middle grade novel A Rambler Steals Home (HMH) and three picture books from Chronicle Books: This Is Not a Valentine (illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins), Everything You Need for a Treehouse (illustrated by Emily Hughes), and Bikes for Sale (illustrated by Zachariah Ohora).

Her first picture book as both author and illustrator, Circle Under Berry, releases in 2021

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