Ruby Valentine and the Sweet Surprise

(Author) (Illustrator)
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Product Details

Carolrhoda Books (R)
Publish Date
10.9 X 9.1 X 0.3 inches | 0.9 pounds

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About the Author

Laurie Friedman is the author of the popular Mallory series, The Mostly Miserable Life of April Sinclair series, and many award-winning picture books. She lives in Florida.

Lynne Avril has illustrated all the stories about young Amelia Bedelia. The artist lives in Phoenix, Arizona.


Heartland residents Ruby and her pet Lovebird are back with another Valentine's Day tale. This time, Lovebird is dismayed upon the arrival of a new addition to the family. A kitten named Sweetie Pie appears to be the 'new apple of Ruby's eye, ' and there's nothing like jealousy to make household tensions escalate. Driven to reclaim her former status as number one pet, Lovebird plans all kinds of special treats for Ruby, but a competitive and not-so-sweet Sweetie Pie tries to outdo each gesture. A brawl ensues, and it takes Ruby's gentle reassurance set things right and convince everyone that she has plenty of love to go around. Avril's pink and red cartoon illustrations capture the spirit of the occasion and are very entertaining. Friedman delivers an important message, though the rhyme scheme is forced and awkward at times. Similar in theme to Sam Lloyd's Mr. Pusskins and Little Whiskers (S. & S., 2008), this title will be a useful addition where holiday books are in demand or to address the needs of any child trying to adapt to a new sibling. --School Library Journal

-- "Journal"

There's trouble brewing in Ruby Valentine's third picture book as rivalry erupts between her pet cockatoo, Lovebird, and her new cat, Sweetie Pie. While Ruby snuggles up with Sweetie Pie in bed, Lovebird plots to concoct the perfect Valentine's Day for Ruby, in order to regain his place as 'number one pet.' Avril's kinetic mixed-media cartooning shows the two pets going neck-to-neck to outdo each other, their sweet sides lost in a swirl of streamers, hearts, roses, and exploding cakes. Predictably, Ruby teaches the rivals that 'There's room in my heart for two, ' yet the expressions of contempt that Avril conjures on Sweetie Pie and Lovebird's faces offer a memorable reminder of the deep emotions associated with Valentine's Day. --Publishers Weekly

-- "Journal"

Popular Ruby Valentine is back, and she has quite a dilemma on her hands. Will beloved pet Lovebird and new cat Sweetie Pie understand that Ruby has enough love for both of them? Friedman sets the scene with snappy rhyming couplets: 'At the Heartland railway station, / Ruby hugged Lovebird good-bye. / She said she'd just be gone a day-- / but what she didn't say was why.' When Ruby returns home, her pet bird meets the new 'baby kitty.' The young feline grows quickly and occupies a lot of Ruby's time. Lovebird isn't happy. She 'missed the good old days / when she and Ruby were a pair.' Jealousy fuels a competition between the two pets. They both want to impress Ruby with wonderful surprises for her favorite holiday, but quickly, things escalate to an all-out brawl, with fur and feathers flying. When Ruby happens upon the tussle, she ends the conflict by declaring she has 'room in my heart for two.' Soon the trio cleans up, tucks into some snacks and finally curls up together to watch a movie. Avril's illustrations are dominated by Valentine hues but still capture comic details about the emotions and energetic antics of the characters. A good choice for Valentine's Day as well as for kids who are coping with a new member of their household, whether animal or human. --Kirkus Reviews

-- "Journal"