Your Valentine? Who is, Charlie Brown?

The English language is structured for creativity, not for precision engineering. Too many phrases are ambiguous. When I tell my wife “I can’t love you any more!”, am I noting that I used to love her, but am no longer capable of doing so? Or am I telling her that my love is turned up to 100%, that I am utterly and totally in love with her? I’m not telling. Not even her.

The actually cover has shiny stuff instead of white on the lace (which is a good effect) and the title (which makes it hard to read.)

The title to Who’s Your Valentine, Charlie Brown? is similar. Is it asking “Charlie Brown, who is your valentine?”¬† Or is it “Is your valentine Charlie Brown?” Looking at the cover, if the question is the former, then it is aimed at Charlie Brown; if the latter, it’s aimed at Snoopy in which case that might not seem to be a reasonable question. But then one starts to think about what “valentine” means in this context. After all, in some contexts it means simply a Valentine’s Day card; when we speaking of school children giving each other “valentines”, we just mean the card. But those cards often say “be my valentine”, so clearly it’s a request for some personal relationship, and as it turns out, the question is a very good one, because (and I’m going to have to spoil the ending of this 10-page heart-shaped board book here) the climax of the story is that Snoopy gives Charlie Brown a Valentine’s Day card. Apparently, he is requesting that Charlie Brown become his valentine! So the ambiguity of the title is never settled; it is neither lady nor tiger but rests in the same state of uncertainty as Schroedinger’s cat.

This masterpiece of ambiguity is writ by Tina Gallo and illustrated by Vicki Scott.

 

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