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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
“What else could possibly go wrong?” How often have we said those words and then things did go decidedly worse than before? And, yet, we never learn to avoid saying those words when things appear to be going totally awry. That’s what happened to Mr. Valentine. It’s Valentine’s Day and it’s his birthday. Because his birthday falls on such an important day, Mr. Valentine has never had a real birthday party. He wants one this year; he even sends out invitations to all his friends to attend his party, only they all turn him down. Saddened and depressed, he decides to do his regular routine and make the best of yet another un-birthday year. When a five-legged dog chases him from the park, he knows the safest thing for him to do is to go home. His dramatic day couldn’t possibly get any worse, could it? Or will it be surprisingly better?
Ms. Kimms’ picture book story, Mr. Valentine’s Dramatic Birthday, is a fun read. Using simple vocabulary and easy sentence structure, this story will be a gem for young readers to improve their reading skills. The plot follows Mr. Valentine’s desire and plans for a birthday party, his ultimate disappointment, and the series of dramatic events that plague him throughout his special day. The colorful illustrations are bold and add another dimension to the story. Young readers will appreciate the heart-shaped body of Mr. Valentine and the unusual characters he encounters, both friends and foes (image a five-legged dog). For those who have to share their birthdays with a special holiday like Valentine’s Day, this story will be particularly appealing and will encourage young readers to find alternate ways to make their special day truly special.