In this debut picture book, Manning sets out to educate young readers about the history and commerce of her home state.
Beginning with the Alamo, this work examines important Texas historical events and figures and supplies snippets about the state’s nickname, flag, flower, and major industries. The bulk of the book is written in verse, with a segment at the end providing “Fun Texas Facts” (with no sources cited). Following the list of facts, there are questions like “What is the capital of Texas?”—presumably for teachers or parents to discuss with children what they learned from the text. Fluckiger’s (The Cozies, 2017, etc.) simple color illustrations blend realistic and cartoonish styles. From the story’s opening lines, “Fight, fight, win!! / In 1836, we begin,” it is clear that the verse will not always hit properly; there are frequently problems with meter and the ineffectual use of slant rhyming. While there are some implications of the impact of Mexicans, Native Americans, and African-Americans on Texas, there are no outright mentions of people of color or their influence on what makes the state “super great.” It is clear that the author is quite fond of her home state; however, that information is expressed on the dedication page and is hard to glean from the text itself. While gussied up with intriguing tidbits, the tale displays little personality. Still, this book provides young readers with a useful introduction to Texas.
A simple rhyming tale that celebrates Texas.