The Slow-Cooked Sentence

Fourth-graders search for nice

Rachael Conlin Levy
Hearts on string.*

I don’t know what to write on Tommy D.’s valentine.

How about: You have a distinct odor.

I can’t write that.

No, you can’t. So, what’s he good at? Running?


Playing on the monkey bars?


Kicking a ball?


Maybe you should skip him? Go back after you’ve had time to think about it.


Two days later, he struts into the kitchen, crowing because he’s managed to find something about which to compliment Tommy D.

I’ve got it!

Tell me.

Tommy D. is really good at being first in line.

Your complimenting him on his ability to cut in front of people?



We ask his brother what he wrote on Tommy D.’s valentine.

Oh, that was hard. It took me a long time, like 5 minutes.

What did you write?

That he’s fun to play tag with.


Because I can run faster and I don’t smell him when I’m running away from him.

* Where credit’s due: Hearts on string is a riff on GardenMama’s valentine garland tutorial.

3 responses to “Fourth-graders search for nice”

  1. Rachael Levy says:

    Denise, their struggle over valentines was just too good. I had to share.

  2. anno says:

    Too funny! Glad you wrote this one down…

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