Katie danced into the kitchen, where her brother, Jack sat at the table. “What are you doing?” she asked as she twirled on her toes.
“I’m writing a thank-you note to Uncle Ed,” Jack told her. “He gave me his old stamp collection.”
“I want to write a thank-you note too.”
“That would be nice, but since tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, why don’t you make valentines, instead?” her brother suggested.
Katie twirled again while she thought about that. Then she started smiling. “I have another idea,” she told Jack. Then she hurried off to her bedroom.
Katie found her colored paper and markers. She got her scissors and glue. She took some white paper and cut out five wide heart-shaped ruffles. Then she glued each one on a piece of red paper. On the first one, she drew trees on one side of the ruffle and a letter carrier waving on the other side. In the middle, she printed “Thank You, from Katie.” Next, she made one with striped balls around the ruffle, and one with a piano on each side of the ruffle. The last one she made had checkerboard squares around the ruffle. All the heart centers said, “Thank You, from Katie.”
Katie put the valentine with the striped balls into her dad’s shoe. He always played catch with her.
She put the one with the pianos into her mom’s coat pocket. Mom played the piano with Katie, and they sang songs.
She slipped the checkerboard ruffle valentine inside Jack’s desk. He was teaching her how to play checkers.
She put the last ruffled heart into their mailbox. The letter carrier always waved to her as he walked by.
Early the next morning, Katie’s dad started to get ready for work. He felt sleepy and a little cranky. When he grabbed his shoes, Katie’s thank-you valentine tumbled out. Dad looked at the striped ball and smiled because he liked to play catch with Katie. He read the thank-you in the middle and smiled again. He started whistling.
In the afternoon, Mom had to go grocery shopping. She snatched her shopping list and hurried out the door. She was in such a rush that she didn’t even wave to their neighbor, Mrs. James. But when Mom put the shopping list into her pocket, she found Katie’s thank-you valentine. She looked at the pianos on the ruffle and smiled. She read the message and smiled again. Then she stopped to show Mrs. James the special thank-you valentine and asked if she needed anything from the store.
An icy wind nipped at the letter carrier’s cheeks as he walked down Katie’s street. When he put some letters into Katie’s mailbox, her thank-you valentine blew out. He caught it and looked at the pictures. He read the message and smiled. Then he waved to Katie and smiled all the way down the street.
After school, Jack sighed as he went to his room to work on his math homework. Numbers mixed him up, and he wanted to eat supper. Jack opened his desk to get a pencil, and Katie’s thank-you valentine popped out. Jack looked at the checkerboard ruffle and smiled. He read the thank-you in the center and smiled again as he began figuring out his math problems.
Later, Jack found Katie feeding her goldfish. “I like my thank-you valentine,” he told her.
“Of course! Everyone likes it when someone remembers to say thank you. Now, how about a game of checkers?”
“Sure!” Katie danced off to get the game.