Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Review: Mirabel's Missing Valentines by Janet Lawler

by Janet Lawler
Illustrated by Olivia Chin Mueller
Sterling Children's Books
Picture Book / Valentine's Day
32 pages
ages 3 and up

When Mirabel’s valentines fall out of her bag on the way to school, the shy little mouse panics. But those lost cards brighten some days . . . before making their way back to her. 

“Mirabel was very shy.
She’d always been that way.
She trembled at the thought of
giving Valentines away.”

Poor Mirabel! It’s almost Valentine’s Day and the shy little mouse trembles at the thought of giving cards away. Yet she carefully crafts her valentines, drawing a heart on every one. In the morning, Mirabel forces herself to hurry to school. But, in her nervousness, she doesn’t notice her bag becoming lighter and lighter: her valentines are falling out! By the time she realizes what’s happened, they’re all gone. It turns out, though, that these lost valentines bring joy into the lives of all who find them. Then, with her valentines back in her pack, and some newfound friends, she musters up the courage to celebrate the holiday after all! This wonderful tale of overcoming insecurity will make its way to the hearts of all young readers.


A little shy and super cute, this book spreads love in the most fantastic way.

Mirabel is excited about Valentine's Day and handing out cards at school, but she's a little nervous too. Still, she puts in her entire love as she creates each card. Keeping bravery strong, she heads off to school. But something terrible happens and the valentines fly from her bag, one by one. The result surprises not only Mirabel, but adds a twist which guarantees smiles.

Mirabel is a sweet character young listeners are sure to quickly embrace and connect with. It's not hard to relate to her—excited but uncertain how the others will react. This is something everyone, especially the intended age group, can understand. Yet, Mirabel gives her best. This alone is inspiring, but the story continues allowing reader to feel for Mirabel again as her Valentines are lost. The play on emotions keeps listeners glued to the pages, and yet is subtle and gentle. The author, however, makes sure the disappointment does not outweigh the positive aspects. With each loss, comes a happy surprise. And the ending wraps it up with a lovely message of warmth, friendship and love.

The illustrations carry a more traditional and very warming feel. It fits extremely well with the tale and gives Mirabel and her world just the right atmosphere. While the text rhymes away in an easy four or so lines, the illustrations add and bring out the more special moments to strengthen the situation. The details are lovingly done and encourage kids to take the book on their own and relive the story again and again. It's a wonderful, Valentine's Day read which fits to all times of the year.

And here they are...

The Author...
Janet Lawler is an award-winning author. Her first picture book, If Kisses Were Colors (Dial, 2003), has been translated into Spanish, Japanese, Hebrew, and Korean. Her most recent picture books include Ocean Counting (Nat'l. Geo., Fall 2013; NSTA Outstanding Science Trade Book), Love Is Real (HarperCollins, 2014), and Rain Forest Colors (NAt'l. Geo., Fall 2014; starred Kirkus review).

Janet lives in Connecticut and is available for interview. Visit her at!

The Illustrator...
Olivia Chin Mueller attended the Rhode Island School of Design. She lives in Providence, RI. Learn more about Olivia at and follow her on Tiwtter and Instagram at @ocmillustration!

1 comment:

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

What a sweet story this sounds like. And whst a nice twist: that the loss of them on the way to school sprinkles happiness to others along the way. (Glad she gets them back, though.)