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Reading My Library

Monday, January 11, 2010

Planning Ahead (Valentine's Day)

Yes, I know we just came off Christmas. And yes, I know I'm about a month away from Valentine's Day. However, we really didn't have any picture books in our household for this particular holiday and I figured I'd better plan ahead a little bit so that I'll have something on hand with which to explain what the day revolves around.

There are lots of good things about utilizing the public library.

However, there is one bad thing: you have to race and beat out every other mom in town to get to the holiday picture books in time to make good use of them!

For the past two years, every time I go to the library to pick up a picture book focused on the holiday-of-the-moment, they are all checked out. So, I've pretty much given up any hope of using the library system to supply our holiday book reading requirements. Instead, I've been building up our own home library for easy and sole access.

That all said, since I'm reading through my library, I'm coming across holiday books as I go. Now that I'm in the month of January, there are plenty of fall holiday titles available to me. I can read anything I like about Halloween or Thanksgiving - and now I can even read about Christmas!

I'm tempted to say that since I'm a month out from Valentine's Day I might just run across a few books about hearts and flowers as well and that may very well be the case. However, I expect that the following book is pretty much on the shelf year round:

A Sweetheart for Valentine, by Lorna Balian was original published in 1979 and you can absolutely tell. The people in the village of St. Valentine are surprised to find a bawling baby girl in a basket left upon the steps of the village hall. She's a rather interesting creature, being something of a giantess than no one knows how to care for. They can't even make her CLOTHES! So they build a tower of flowering bushes and she has to live in it.

They name the baby Valentine and she grows up so big and so tall (and so 1979 nude) that, of course, it's hard to find a husband for her. But oh how she wants to get married! Finally one day a giant stumbles into town (literally) and the two naturally fall in love and get married. Of course, they can't marry off Valentine in her birthday suit so they cover her in flowers (if you were wondering . . . which I was).

Bizarre book!

I think we won't be reading this one aloud but it certainly was an interesting read for me!

In the meantime, I'm definitely on the hunt for books on Valentine's Day to add to our home collection.

Any suggestions? I'm all exposed 1978 ears!


  1. Uh. yeah. I was skimming your post and thought SHE LIKES THIS BOOK???? I had to re-read. LOL Books like that are not children's books! Crazy.

  2. I had to laugh... my daughter stumbled across this book at her school libary in first grade (abt 1996).
    This became her FAVORITE book, and was checked out over and over again and even later as she grew it re-visited us during Valentine's Day. The fact that this book was on the shelves says a lot about the very limited budgets of a small rural school district...and no local library... we had to visit Grandma in the city for that!

    Thanks for your site, my oldest is now in college but I still love checking out picture books and revisiting all the memories they bring back.

  3. Wow.

    And what's worse? My library has it, so now it's in my hands. I think my biggest question is where did the giant guy get *his* clothes. Maybe Valentine could shop there...

    - Katie

  4. This kind of makes me want to go find this book...I know how it is with racing the others to get the holiday books. I am going to look for Valentines one on Wed, but it may just be too late...

  5. How funny! I'm definitely going to look for this book. I just hope my kids don't notice! Like Angela, I can see the chronicle of a naked giant finding love becoming a favorite here (much to my dismay). See? This is why I love checking your site on library days! Thanks!

  6. Funnily enough I've just been looking for valentines books - I always get frustrated when it's a particular season, you read about great relevant book on other blogs, but then you can't get them at the library because everyone else has already gotten there. So I thought I'd get prepared and look for some books ahead of time. But to be honest, I've been disappointed. Valentine's day isn't nearly such a big thing over here (eg giving gifts to your classmates is totally unheard of), and the few books I've found are ghastly slushy things. So if you find anything good, please let us know!

  7. Angela's comment cracked me up -- they've all cracked me up. And so then I had to check and see if MY library has it -- yes, indeedy they do!