Skaermas, Nancy J. The Story of Valentine’s Day. Worthy Kids, 2000. ISBN 978-0824941840 26 pp. $6.95
The author proclaims that St. Valentine’s day is one of our oldest and most mysterious holidays, then reveals the speculations to its origins with the words “perhaps,” “legends,” “story,” and “believed.” Students looking for research will be disappointed, but those who just want to hear some possible explanations will be satisfied. No sources are cited, although Bulla says that there are church records for some information; he also cites Valentine’s Day as the most popular day for weddings, and the busiest day for post offices, but offers no facts to support these claims.
The illustrations are charming and energetic, mixing the traditional red, white and pink with purple, hot pink, blue, green and gold. Instead of delicate hearts and cupids, the endpapers are jazzy with an Escher-like dove carrying a heart in its beak. Design is consistent throughout with a full-page color illustration opposite text with a related border. The font is a bit spidery and wordy for younger readers.
In spite of its shortcomings, the book remains a good source for those looking for old customs or games to celebrate the popular holiday. Appended activities include pinprick valentines, writing acrostic valentines, and baking cookies. The book itself can be a valentine gift for little ones.