The Ballad of Valentine by Alison Jackson
Illustrated by Tricia Tusa
Published by Dutton Children's Books
Valentine lives in a small cottage in a remote canyon, where she goes about her daily chores without knowing that in the distance she has an enamored admirer. He has a question to ask her, but try as he may, he can never reach Valentine:
In a cabin, in a canyon,
Near a mountain laced with pine,
Lived a girl who was my sweetheart
And her name was Valentine.
Oh my darling, oh my darling,
Oh my darling Valentine,
I have written forty letters,
But you never read a line.
He tried to send her a letter, but the mailman couldn't find Valentine's address. He trained a homing pigeon, but it dropped the letter in Madagascar. He even tried to send smoke signals, but "a cyclone stole the message, and it vanished one more time." Meanwhile Valentine is baking a pie...and as the enamored boy sits in total despair hoping to one day ask her to be his Valentine, we see her climbing up to the hill where he lives.
The Ballad of Valentine follows the melody of Oh My Darling, Clementine, and I dare you not to start singing along after a couple of pages. The story is sweet and funny and the illustrations by Tusa are delightful. Great read aloud for Valentine's Day.