Reviews for Yuckiest, Stinkiest, Best Valentine Ever

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
The valentine young Leon has made runs away shouting "Love is yucky. / Stinky too. / It will turn your brain to goo!" Everyone joins in a chase that ends in the candy shop, where they run into Leon's secret crush (and the valentine she has made for him). Illustration panels, speech bubbles, and the gingerbread-man-like pursuit make this somewhat saccharine love story palatable.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 November #1
Get ready to enjoy a laugh-out-loud, fast-paced adventure involving a secret crush, a runaway valentine with an attitude and lots of candy. Leon has a huge crush on Zoey Maloney. He cuts out a big red heart and reveals his feelings. All seems well until the valentine--depicted with wide-eyed disbelief and an oversized mouth--declares, "PUL-EESE! You can't tell [her] you love her! / …It's mushy and gross and just plain YUCKY!" Leon thinks Valentine's Day is all about love; the heart is sure it "is all about candy." So, he leaps out the window to escape having to proclaim Leon's affections. What ensues is a hilarious chase that progressively gathers more and more people--boys, girls and teens--who all weigh in on whether the valentine should go to the girl of Leon's dreams. Ferber gets the character development and dialogue just right. The heart is silly but a tough talker, and in contrast, Leon is earnest and determined. The urgent chase is propelled by quick descriptions that make readers want to turn the pages even faster. Arnold, illustrator of the Fly Guy series, digitally creates varied spreads that look like a super-size version of a Sunday comic strip. Bright with saturated colors, the focal point is always the spunky red heart that conveys an impressive range of funny facial expressions for such a little thing. All too soon, a spectacular crash in the candy store yields romantic results for both the valentine and Leon. Get this now--it's better than candy. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 December #2

Floppy-haired Leon is wrestling with his heart--literally. When he creates a valentine heart for his crush, the wide-eyed card takes off running through Arnold's comic book-style spreads. "You give me to Zoey Maloney and we'll be the laughingstock of the whole school!" insists the freaked-out valentine. Kids on the playground offer their perspectives on love, ranging from "Eew!" to concern: "But does Zoey Maloney love you back?" Ferber sticks to traditional gender dynamics (the boys respond to news of Leon's crush with disgust, while the girls swoon), but she also navigates the palm-sweating sweetness of first love with tenderness, humorously echoed by Arnold's nervy graphics. Ages 3-up. Agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Dec.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 December

PreS-Gr 2--Young Leon is hopelessly in love with Zoey Maloney. But the valentine he makes for her comes to life and declares, "Love is yucky. Stinky too. It will turn your brain to goo!" and takes off. As Leon chases it through town, followed by other kids who are eager to see how "this whole mess" turns out, the valentine delivers a compelling argument as to why Leon should not share his love for Zoey. It's not until the valentine meets Zoey's valentine that the cynic abruptly changes his mind and says, "Love is yummy. Love's divine. Won't you be my valentine?" Arnold's full-page, boldly colored, digitally created cartoonlike illustrations are dynamic, bringing the chase to life. With its creative story line and upbeat writing, this picture book is a must for holiday collections.--Mary Cass Mabbot, Indianapolis Public Library

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