Check it out: ‘Twosomes’ are short, sweet lines

Valentine's angst absent from kids' book



Holy heart-shaped candy, Valentine’s Day is just hours away! If ever there was a day designed to cause feelings of angst and joy, Feb. 14 takes the cake. This day of potentially jumbled emotions is not just the purview of adults, I’ll have you know. The uncomfortable mix of anxiety and giddiness starts as early as elementary school when classmates exchange Valentines. Here’s a conversation I had with my mom:

Me: “But Mommy, I don’t want to give George a Valentine. He has boogers, and he smells funny.”

Mom: “Jan, George’s feelings will be hurt if you leave him out. Every one in your class gets a card.”

I stewed about that one for a while, and then when I didn’t get a Valentine from the cutest boy in the class, I began to suspect that this “special” day was destined to be filled with emotional land mines.

If Valentine’s Day causes you to step gingerly, perhaps I can make the day a little bit safer by suggesting you give your sweetheart a poem. Please don’t panic. Stringing together sentences such as “Forsooth! My love for thee dost verily resound within my hollowed out bones” is not necessary. Instead, present your loved one with a poem from Marilyn Singer’s charming “Twosomes: Love Poems from the Animal Kingdom.”

While this particular title was written for children, I think it’s appropriate for all ages. All 15 poems are short and sweet — just two lines each — and who can resist porcupines, dolphins and chameleons expressing sweet nothings to each other? “Hugging you takes some practice,” says the porcupine, “so I’ll start with a cactus.” Then there are two moonstruck horses who whinny, “Nose to nose, hip to hip, ours is a stable relationship.” No overly saccharine sentiments here — just simple, sometimes punny rhymes guaranteed to make your loved one giggle. To share a laugh is one of the best ways to make Valentine’s Day joyful, not painful.

Jan Johnston is the Collection Development Coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at She blogs at