Valentine books. Books? While hardly a Valentine's Day tradition, they're very much tuned in to the images of the holiday. They range from fantasies on the origins of the celebration to means of enhancing it. And all have one traditional Valentine message in common: LOVE is the answer. Ages 3-6
"Miss Kiss and the Nasty Beast." By Lady McCrady. (Holiday House, $7.95).
It's amazing what a kiss can accomplish. Like saving Kiss City from the dastardly deeds of the Nasty Beast. The heroine? Miss Kiss, of course!
"Bee My Valentine!" By Miriam Cohen. Pictures by Lillian Hoban. (Greenwillow, $6.95).
Valentine's day at school can be loads of fun. Except for George, that is, who receives the fewest valentines. The other first-graders feel badly and quickly find a clever solution, to dry George's tears.
"A Sweetheart for Valentine." By Lorna Balian, (Abingdon, $8.95).
Although the villagers love Valentine, the abandoned infant they all adopted years ago, her giant size causes giant problems in finding a sweetheart. Their patience, understanding and love lead to a blissful ending. Ages 5-8
"A Valentine Fantasy." By Carolyn Haywood. Illustrated by Glenys and Victor Ambrus. (Morrow, $5.95).
In this lushly illustrated Valentine's Day fantasy, young Valentine's refusal to bring the golden bluebird's heart to the King lands him in the dungeon. His surprise rescue adds an imaginative new twist to the traditional origins of this holiday.
"The Valentine Mystery." By Joan Lowery Nixon. Illustrated by Jim Cummins. (Albert Whitman, $4.95).
Young sleuths will enjoy puzzling along with Susan and her brother as they try to solve the mystery of the unsigned valentine.
"Things to Make and Do for Valentine's Day." By Tomie de Paola. (Scholastic, $1.50).
This make-and-do paperback, filled with jokes, crafts, games and recipes, proves that Valentine's Day means never having to say, "I'm bored!"
"I Like You." By Sandol Stoddard Warburg. Illustrated by Jacqueline Chwast. (Houghton Mifflin, $3.95).
This tiny book of simple vignettes illustrated with black ink drawings conveys in a moving, personal way the sentiment of the title. Perfect for a special best friend. Ages 8-12
"Hearts, Cupids and Red Roses." By Edna Barth. Drawings by Ursula Arndt. (Clarion Books, $8.95).
Winter's gray gloom give way to pinks, roses and deep reds in this "Story of the Valentine Symbols." Ms. Barth explores the origins of Valentine's Day and describes how it is celebrated in a number of countries.
"Honey, I Love and Other Love Poems." By Eloise Greenfield. Pictures by Diane and Leo Dillon. (Crowell, $4.95). e
In these 16 delicately illustrated prose poems, a child's observation of life around her evokes feelings of warmth, comfort and love. This is an outstanding contribution to children's black literature.
"Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown." By Charles M. Schulz. (Random House, $3.95).
Ever hopeful Charlie Brown is sure he'll get lots of valentines this year . . . but you know how his luck runs. In this zany, comic-strip-style book Lucy tries new methods of wooing Shroeder, Linus falls in love with his teacher and Snoopy plays the kissing beagle in Charlie Brown's mailbox.
"The S.S. Valentine." By Terry Wolfe Phelan. Illustrated by Judy Glasser. (Four Winds, $5.95).
All the kids in Mrs. Jacobs' class are excited about the upcoming play and other Valentine's Day festivities. All except Andy. He's sure he's going to be kissed. To add to his problems, a new student in a wheelchair arrives and he doesn't know how to act toward her. A special change in plans leads to a Valentine's Day full of love . . . and understanding.