Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Ballad of Valentine

The Ballad of Valentine (Picture Puffin Books)Title: The Ballad of Valentine     
Author: Alison Jackson   
Illustrator: Tricia Tusa  
Publication Date: 2002   
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book   
Summary: A fun story of a man who desperately wants to ask his neighbor to be his Valentine by sending the message in every way he can possibly think of...except for one that works!   
What I Think: I think I have a horrible singing voice...but that didn't stop me from singing aloud this book.  It can be sung to the tune of "Oh My Darling" and it's oh-so-fun. This is a great book because it is so funny to see all the different ways the man tries and fails to send his message to Valentine. All of them go wrong but it is a perfect opportunity to talk to kids about how communication has changed - and really changed a lot recently.     

It's funny that Colby and I are talking about teenage relationships with The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner this week as I'm reviewing this book. We talk about how nervous the main character, Nick, is to make a move in the book and how we wish we would have had books like The Pull of Gravity to read when we were in high school. I actually think this picture book goes really well with The Pull of Gravity because Valentine ends up taking things into her own hands and it is such a fun look at relationships. The illustrations and the man's outlandish story is so much fun to read about. It could easily be a mentor text for giving your all at something even when things just don't go your way. Great for inferring character traits.
Read Together: Pre-K - 12
Read Alone: 2 - 12 
Read With: Love and Kisses by Sarah Wilson, Zero Kisses for Me by Manuela Monari, Phileas's Fortune: A Story About Self-Expression by Agnes De Lestrade, Nonfiction about sending messages/letters 
Snatch of Text:  
"In a cabin, in a canyon,
Near a mountain laced with pine,
Lived a girl who was my sweetheart, 
And her name was Valentine.

Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling, Valentine,
I have written forty letters,
But you've never read a line."
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Making Predictions, Making Inferences
Writing Strategies to Practice: Expository,  
Writing Prompts: Explain how you send a message to a friend or family member. How would your life be different without the technology that we currently have with cell phones and computers?  
Topics Covered: Sending Letters/Messages, Love, Valentine's Day, Perseverance, Determination 

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