Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Secret Love: Super Secret Valentine by Abby Klein

"I have a problem, a really really big problem. I want to give Jessie a special Valentine for Valentine's Day, but I don't want anyone else to know.

Let me tell you about it."

Mrs. Wushy's class Valentine's Day party is Friday, and for a change Freddy has a bigger problem than class bully Max. Freddy's mom has decided that this year he and Suzie will make their own Valentines instead of buying them, and after some problems with crooked cut-out hearts, Freddy really gets into the project. There are nineteen to make for the kids in his class, and Freddy finishes eighteen of them under Suzie's bossy supervision, but the last one, the special one for Jessie, is a different matter.

Pretending to help his mom put his laundry away, Freddy sneaks the needed art supplies up to his room and finishes an especially nice one for his special friend. So far so good, Freddie thinks, until Suzie catches him glue-handed with the forbidden sticky stuff in his room. "You are so busted," she cries triumphantly, and only a promise to turn over all his candy hearts and all his chocolate kisses to Suzie buys her silence.

Still Freddy has to smuggle the special Valentine to school without anyone seeing it. Visions of hearing Max singing the dreaded rhyme in front of everyone torment Freddy as he stealthily waits for a private moment to give Jess her Valentine:

"Freddy and Jessie, sitting in a tree,

But this time Freddy is lucky in love. At recess he manages to catch Jessie alone to give her the handmade Valentine with the special message "I Like You!" And wonder of wonders, Jessie has one for him with the very same message.

In Abby Klein's beginning chapter book Super-secret Valentine (Ready, Freddy!), hero Ready Freddy has special appeal to youngsters of the boy persuasion--a realistic character whose wishes and worries tickle the funny bone while striking a common chord with young readers. Pair this one with Park's hilarious (and touching) Junie B. Jones and the Mushy Gushy Valentime (Junie B. Jones, No. 14) for some independent reader Valentine's Day fun.

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