A String of Hearts by Laura Malone Elliott, illustrated by Lunn Munsinger. Katherine Tegen Books (November 2010); ISBN 9780060000851; 32 pages
Book Source: Copy from local library
"Sadly, Sam picked up his valentine and stuffed it in his coat. But inside his pocket he found something else. It was a valentine, and it opened up in a string of hearts."
A classroom full of animal students prepares for Valentine's Day. Sam, a kind-hearted bear, can't wait to exchange Valentines and wants to make a really special one for Tiffany, the most popular girl cat in the class. Another girl in his class, a thoughtful squirrel named Mary Ann, offers to help him craft some Valentines. Valentine's Day arrives, and Sam's exchange does not go as planned. But after receiving a string of hearts from someone special, Sam realizes that true friends make the best Valentines.
This beautiful, emotion-filled story, with heart-felt Valentines shared by the main characters will pull at your heart strings. Munsinger's cute, fuzzy animals couldn't be sweeter, and it's amazing just how many little special Valentine's Day details Elliott includes in her book. Sam and Mary Ann make a variety of different homemade Valentines including acrostic Valentines and pinprick Valentines. (For instructions on how to make, see my Homemade Valentine's Day Cards post.) The characters also have a fun time writing special poems together, adding details to personalize the Valentines for the recipents. The author's note in the end of the book, "A Note About Valentine's Day" provides a brief overview of the history of Valentine's Day and cardmaking.
The dynamics of a classroom can sometimes be difficult for kids, especially when they wrestle with popularity. A String of Hearts shows that it is more important to have good, thoughtful friends than worrying about who is popular.
Laura Malone Elliott Website
Reading Rockets Heartfelt poetry with author Laura Elliott
Several illustrations in this book show a heart garland used as classroom decoration. We decided to make our own string of hearts garland to hang in one of our doorways. We cut out a bunch of hearts from cardstock and both of my kids decorated the hearts using glitter paint. This turned out to be a very popular craft and we ended up with a lot more hearts than we needed. My son especially enjoyed squishing mirror images into his hearts! After the hearts dried, we punched holes in the sides of the hearts and strung the hearts on a piece of yarn.
Earlier this year my daughter cut a heart paper chain (string of hearts) like the one given to Sam.
Other heart garland / String of Hearts crafts:
Martha Stewart Valentine's Day Heart Garland
How About Orange Paper Heart Garland
The Lettered Set - Wire and Yarn Heart
Family Fun Yarn Hearts
Family Fun Heart Strings
Preschool Storytime Crafts - String Heart
A Mommy's Adventures hosts the "stART" meme (Story + Art) each week. Add your kids craft post to the Kid's Get Crafty linky at Red Ted Art's Blog. Join in Read Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word. Show off your ideas at ABC & 123 Show and Tell. Find more great book tie-ins at JDaniel4's Mom Read, Explore, Learn link-up.
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