Book Review - Snowy Valentine

Author/Illustrator:  David Petersen
Publisher:  Harper Collins Children's (November 11, 2011)
Audience: Ages 4 to 8
Source: Copy for Review
Picture Book * Fiction * Holiday * Valentine

Description from Publisher:
Step out into a snowy Valentine’s Day with Jasper the bunny as he searches the forest valley for a special gift for his loved one.

In his picture-book debut, David Petersen, the Eisner Award–winning creator of Mouse Guard, tells a delightful tale that becomes the perfect way to say “I love you.”

Bring this sweet story home to your Valentine today.

My thoughts:

I discovered the work of David Petersen last summer when I came across his Mouse Guard series while I was preparing for a presentation on Graphic Novels.  I was immediately taken by his illustrations which were vivid and beautiful.  A few months later I came across an advanced copy of Snowy Valentine; Petersen's first picture book.   

In a Snowy Valentine, Petersen brings his trademark style and uses it to tell the story of Jasper and Lilly Bunny.  Jasper loves his wife Lilly and sets out through the snow to find a gift for her.  He quickly discovers that gifts that might appeal to porcupines, toads, racoons, and cardinals just aren't the right match for Lilly.  The story even includes a bit of a close call when Jasper runs into a fox and almost ends up as a Valentine for Mrs. Fox.  However, Jasper's wanderings lead him to the perfect gift for Lilly. 

Holiday picture books can be scary territory to explore.  So many of them are overly sweet or silly, or somewhat annoying.  When I read this book months ago, my reaction was positive.  It was refreshing to come across a story that was charmingly illustrated and sweet without being cloying. The twist at the end seemed like a fitting way to conclude the book.  As I read the finished copy in preparation for this review, not only did I feel the same way about the story, but I felt like I picked up some new details in the illustration.  I was also excited to discover from reading Petersen's blog that the story originated as a gift to his wife.  What a lovely gift both for Petersen's wife and for readers.   

David Petersen talks about the making of Snowy Valentine on his blog.  You can follow him on twitter @mouseguard
Part I 
Part II
Part III

You can follow him on twitter @mouseguard