Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Valentine's Day Information

Here are some facts about Valentine's Day that I learned from Hearts, Cupids, and Red Roses: The Story of Valentine Symbols by Edna Barth and illustrated by Ursula Arndt.

1. St. Valentine was recorded to have died (executed really) on February 14th. One legend about Valentine is that he would secretly marry young couple even though Claudius II (emperor at the time in Rome) had declared that to be illegal.

2.The UK and USA are the two countries where Valentine's Day is still widely celebrated, in a few countries it was banned.

3. The oldest known Valentine in letter form was from Margery Brews in 1477 written to John Paston.

4. In 1845 one postage rate was set for the United States and Valentines increased dramatically in popularity.

5. In the language of flowers violets mean I return your love.

My quick review of this book is do not bother. While some of what you read is interesting the author jumps around in time so much that it is very hard to follow. And even though the book is supposed to be about the origins of Valentine's Day symbols the reader is rarely given many concrete facts or even the first appearance of that symbol. Mostly we are given facts from England and USA from the 18th and 19th century, which explains more of the modern interpretation of the symbols not their origins. This book is meant for an 8-10 year old but I do not think they would find it very interesting. The illustrations are drawn in black and white and often are not very clear or crisp. I would stay away.

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