Roses Are Pink, Your Feet Really Stink

Written and illustrated by Diane deGroat
William Morrow & Company 1996
ISBN 0688136052
Ages 4 - 8

Book Ordering Info


IRA/CBC Children's Choice

1998 Arkansas Diamond Primary Book of the Year

1998 North Carolina Children's Book Award

1997 C.S. Lewis Medal Contest


When Gilbert writes two not-so-nice valentines to his classmates, his prank quickly turns into pandemonium. But there's always time for a change of heart of Valentine's Day. This warm and funny book about a favorite holiday also provides a subtle message about forgiveness and being a good friend. Ages 5 up.


From Kirkus Reviews A sympathetic look at the small hurts in life and the importance of second chances.

From the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books There's often a little drizzle on much-anticipated holiday parades: this cozy and reassuring story understands that but knows that holidays and friendships are still worth celebrating.

From School Library Journal Human foibles humorously yet accurately revealed are given practical, realistic nondidactic solutions.

From Booklist Gilbert, a chipmunkish critter, has to write valentine poems for each of his classmates because his teacher says that Valentine's Day is about liking each other. He enjoys writing the cards for his friends, but for two mean kids in his class, Lewis and Margaret, he writes the worst cards he can ("Roses are red, you wet your bed, I think that you have rocks in your head" ). After the initial uproar, the hostility is finally turned around with good humor and with lots of nonsense and forgiveness. The rabbit, skunk, bear, and porcupine characters display droll, very human classroom behavior. Kids will enjoy all the rhymes, and they'll want to make up their own playful parodies, both mushy and mean.


From Horn Book On Valentine's Day, Gilbert gets even with a pair of troublesome classmates by writing mean-spirited messages on their cards. When he is ostracized, he makes amends by creating nicer cards in time for the Valentine's party. The light tone is matched by the amusing illustrations of Gilbert and his schoolmates, who are portrayed as anthropomorphized animals.


School Library Journal ...Large, two-page spreads and simple but smooth third-person narrative make this a good choice for group sharing.