Another holiday joins the publisher’s series of state-specific books.
As with the Halloween-themed The Spooky Express Texas (2017), though, this one is neither specific enough to engage Texans nor fascinating/informative enough to engage those outside the Lone Star State. (The series includes books for 24 states and Canada, as well as the all-purpose I Love My Valentine.) While almost every spread points out a specific city or landmark, the illustrations are generic, and taken out of context, most will be nigh unrecognizable. The line breaks (and meter) in the rhyming verses may make it difficult to read aloud, and the arbitrarily capped words are distracting. Two children in a canoe (it’s tethered, but they are sans life jackets) beside Padre Island illustrate “You’re my SWEETIE, / my dear, my SMILE / and my laughter. / You’re my PLAYMATE for always, / and my JOY ever after.” This last includes some concepts that may go over the heads of the book’s target audience. The digital artwork is superbright, employing valentine colors, and it features romantic animal couples as well as a racially diverse bunch of kids. While the kids are enjoying each other’s company, the hearts and butterflies between them (all but two seem to be male/female pairs) emphasize romantic love rather than the more age-appropriate basics of being a good friend. Every spread save one features at least one child of color, and the final spread includes a child in a wheelchair.
No matter where your valentine is, skip. (Picture book. 3-7)