A young boy wants his friend to know that he cares about her, so he gives her gifts he knows she will like, all the while saying, “This is not a valentine,” because of course valentines mean love, and love is serious stuff.
But what he does mean is that he likes her enough to notice what makes her happy. And those things include a ring from the grocery store with a stone to match her shoelaces, and daffodil puffs to wish upon, and half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and the perfect hiding spot for playing hide-and-seek.
The sentiments expressed in This Is Not a Valentine, a picture book by Carter Higgins with illustrations by Lucy Ruth Cummins, are sweet and thoughtful, especially at the end, when the girl recognizes the value of having the boy as a friend and so starts to hang out with him at school and on the bus.
The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.