top of page

The Picture Book Buzz

Be My ValenSlime - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

What a great premise, grumpy monsters meet "lovey-dovey" valentines. I was so enthralled by this cover - the play on words, the sparkly combination of both a heart and dripping slime, and the personalities of the monsters. Kris Tarantino and Cori Doerrfeld have created an amazingly funny, touching, and poignant picture book on perfectionism, love, friendship, and of course Valentine's Day.

Book Cover - little green monster smiling and carrying a red heart, while behind her three bigger monsters glare and cringe.

Be My Valenslime

Author: Kris Tarantino

Illustrator: Cori Doerrfeld

Publisher: WaterBrook/Random House (2024)

Ages: 3-7 Fiction


Valentines, monsters, friendship, perfectionism, and the meaning of love.


A hilarious and heartwarming picture book about a sweet little monster who really wants to celebrate a not-so-monstery holiday: Valentine’s Day.

Snoodle is an unusual monster. She loves candy hearts, fun parties, fuzzy kittens, fancy hats, sparkly stickers, and . . . valentines! There's just one problem: Monsters don’t do Valentine’s Day!

And when Snoodle tries to throw a Valentine’s Day party for her monster friends, nothing goes right. Every attempt to show them what love looks like turns into monster mayhem! With each disaster, Snoodle tries to be patient and kind, and to not be rude or get easily angered. But if the party isn’t perfect, how can Snoodle convince the other monsters to be her Valenslime?

Debut author Kris Tarantino and New York Times bestselling illustrator Cori Doerrfeld bring to life a wonderful cast in this laugh-out-loud exploration of the true meaning of love.

Opening Lines:


A tad gruffy. A bit grumpy.

And definitely not lovey-dovey.

What I LOVED about this book:

I absolutely love this colorful opening image and the wonderful text! Such great monster characters! They are inventive, fun, andperfectly grumpy. Cori did such a terrific job with the composite shapes, colors, and expressions of these three main monsters - Zee-Zee, Fleck and Iggy. And all the little monsters she added to the story provide an additional touch of whimsical humor throughout the book.

Internal spread - small, green, slime monster carries a box of Valentine party supplies into the monsters' cave and is met by grumpy glaring, and gruff monsters.

Text © Kris Tarantino, 2024. Image © Cori Doerrfeld, 2024.

Then there's Snoodle - an adorable, slimy little antlered monster who has crept out into the world and witnessed a forest animal Valentines' party. Determined to bring cheer, love, and fun back to the other monsters, she excitedly totes a box of supplies (and one rather traumatized kitten), into her cave. Oh the horror of the grumpy, glaring monsters as Snoodle declares . . .

Internal spread - on left, green slimy monster dumps a big box of Valentines supplies. On right, disgruntled, grumpy monsters glare at her.

Text © Kris Tarantino, 2024. Image © Cori Doerrfeld, 2024.

I love candy hearts! And fun

parties! And fuzzy kittens and

fancy hats and sparkly stickers!

And Valentines!

Despite, or perhaps because, the other monsters declare that love (whatever that is) is icky, Snoodle decides to "prove Valentine's Day is the BEST!" With a joyous abandon, reminiscent of many a preschool crafting project, the monsters tackle every part of Snoodle's party plan - make wild, monsterific boxes (check), rambunctiously enjoy balloons (check), and monsterfy the cave with gum bubbles, streamers, and tape. Creating "a lot of tangled-up, taped-up monsters!" Kids will love following the kitten, which Cori added to the illustrations, who starts out cowering and soon joins in the hullaballoo!

Internal spread - little monster giggles as every other monster is wraped, traped, and suspended by streamers and tape from the cave ceilling.

Text © Kris Tarantino, 2024. Image © Cori Doerrfeld, 2024.

Interestingly, as each of Snoodle's party ideas progressively fail to work and spiral out of hand, she also discovers some facets of love. Such as "love is patient," "love is always kind - and never rude," and "when things get sticky, love doesn't remember mistakes." Until finally, close to tears, Snoodle realizes that the party will never be what she had imagined. I love the quiet, sympathetic hug the kitten gives to Snoodle - reminding me of a certain little rabbit.

When Snoodle finally realizes . . . oh, just wait. The joyous, heartfelt ending is perfect, rewarding, and gorgeous. This is a wonderfully funny, new picture book for Valentine's Day, little perfectionists, and snuggly story times.


Photo - collage of 5 of 32 preschool Valentine's Day crafts.
  • even though Valentine's Day has passed, there is no expiration on sharing your love with family and friends. Try a couple of these crafts to let others know you care about them.

Cover of Activity packet - little green monster smiling and carrying a red heart, while behind her three bigger monsters glare and cringe.

  • what was the toughest thing for Snoodle in sharing Valentine's Day with the other monsters? Describe or draw a picture of when something you planned or hoped for didn't quite work out as you imagined.

If you missed the fun interview with Kris Tarantino and Cori Doerrfeld on Monday, find it (here).

This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions and resources see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.


Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

Follow Me

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • 1473394675_goodreads
  • Pinterest



bottom of page