My son is in love. He’s six. He is so smitten with this girl in his class that his entire being goes all “woo-woo” when he talks about her- he writes in his little kindergarten notebook that he loves her. He puts little love notes in her cubby. I volunteered in their multi-age Montessori classroom yesterday, and as I was working with my daughter tracing letters in a box of fine, white sand, I looked up to see him standing there with a big goofy smile on his face and his charming Kevin Bacon hair going every which way, just watching this girl color. She, in all honestly, is absolutely lovely. I mean, gorgeous. She is four. She flashes a shining smile at him, but clearly has no concept of the time and energy he spends adoring her.
My son is not named Henry, but he is leading a parallel life to the cat in my next book profile.
This is really such a sweet book, a retelling of the very old and very basic tale of boy meets girl. And much like my own boy’s predicament, the girl seems entirely naive of the situation.
Henry thinks that Chloe is the loveliest girl in school. Every illustration of her seems to be in a subtle slo-mo style. Henry turns in his desk in the classroom to see Chloe at her desk. In a field. With poppies. You can almost hear the wind blowing her fur back and “Dream Weaver” beginning to play.
He adores everything about her.
She is his friend. They laugh and play, and Henry silently adores.
And gives it to her.
It is that simple, and it is that sweet. There is no drama, no grand notions of romance. There is some slight teasing from friends, but above all, there is just a gentle but direct show of tenderness.
The illustrations are minimalist in the sweetest way, the sharply outlined animals somehow managing to look soft and fuzzy, the expressions perfectly innocent and yet filled with longing. It is all so beautiful, it tugs at my own heart.
I’m waiting now for my son to come home from school with tales of the Cupid’s arrow he made with a stick and some red felt that he gave to his Valentine today. I can imagine her, in subtle slo-mo, smiling that stunning smile of hers and thanking him…and turning to ask the teacher if it’s snack time yet.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone.