Corinne Demas - Official Website
Valentine Surprise -- cover
Check out further adventures of Lily in Halloween Surprise

Valentine Surprise

Illustrated by R.W.Alley

Published by
Walker & Company
December, 2007
Paperback, 2009
ISBN: 978-0802720764

How to Get this Book

Indie Bestseller List, Children's Illustrated, February 11, 2010
(sales at independent bookstores nationwide)


It's only a week until Valentine's Day, and Lily wants to make the perfect lilyheart-shaped valentine for Mommy. But every time she cuts out a heart, it's either too pointy, too round, or too skinny. As the days go by Lily tries again and again, and when LilyValentine's Day finally arrives, she has a heart for each day of the week! Which one will be the perfect valentine surprise for Mommy? This sweet, simple story introduces the days of the week, as well as the special tradition of creating handmade valentines. A foldout page displays Lily's final creation.


With its subtle teaching of days and shapes, this is one that teachers will reach for each February. Alley’s Lily has a face for all her feelings and actions—hopeful, disappointed, concentrating and working hard. Readers can only hope that the closing illustration hints to a future St. Patrick’s Day outing with Lily. Lily’s solution is a salute to creativity, ingenuity and thinking outside the box; it will have all parents cheering her efforts and hoping that their own child takes a page from her book.

--Kirkus Reviews

The simple text, which teaches shapes and days of the week, is just right for young children, who will recognize their own craft-project frustrations in Lily’s experience. The story is sweet without being sappy, and Alley’s soft, pencil-and-watercolor illustrations add to the warm tone. This cozy story is an excellent choice for a family-oriented Valentine’s Day reading.


The language is simple enough for beginning readers, and the story will also work well for group sharing. The typeface changes to reflect the adjective relating to each valentine. Cartoon illustrations in pencil, watercolor, and gouache show Lily in a frenzy of activity. Her face is expressive enough for readers to follow her progress without the text. The experience of having an art project not turn out as planned is universal, and readers will relate to the protagonist’s plight. A good addition to holiday collections.

–School Library Journal

The touching way mommy saves the day brings a catch to the throat and a lesson for kids about perfection and the true spirit of Valentine's Day.

--Amherst Bulletin

As author Corinne Demas and illustrator R.W. Alley show in "Valentine Surprise" a valentine doesn't have to be perfect to be the perfect valentine for someone you love. Demas' story will ring true to many young readers, while Alley's illustrations emphasize how much love and effort Lily pours into her valentines.


In this book about art and love, young Lily learns that mistakes can be beautiful. None of her valentines come out perfectly, but she finds a way to give Mommy something even better than a single heart cutout.

-- Associated Press

Lively illustrations and engaging dialogue show the frantic frustration and inexhaustible love that our little artist Lilly experiences in Valentine Surprise, not only making this a perfect book for the holiday but also teaching shapes and days of the week to young readers. Bright colors, kitties, and Lily’s attempts at creating a traditional handmade Valentine all come together for a simply sweet story that will be read and shared many times for years to come.

(Corinne Demas) creates a heartwarming story of love in this book. The text is enhanced with the illustrations of R.W. Alley. The characters are adorable, and the colors are soft and inviting. This simple tale of a girl just trying to create a gift for her mommy will ring true with many children. It’s a story with a meaning that’s perfect for young kids.

-- Children's Book


Bob Alley and Corinne

How to Get this Book

Ask for it at your local library.
Buy it at your local bookstore.
Order it online:

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R.W. Alley"I have been making up stories and drawing pictures to illustrate them for about as long as I can remember. In many ways, I still spend my days the same way I did when I was ten. This is somewhat confusing to my wife and children, but I don’t seem to be able to help myself."

R.W. Alley has illustrated nearly a hundred books for children, including Halloween Surprise and the beloved Paddington series. He lives in Rhode Island.