I know it seems early, but we’re already gearing up for Valentine’s Day here at Learning Express. It’s the first holiday we have to look forward to after New Year’s and it’s something pretty special in the world of kids. It’s almost time to bring dad’s leftover shoebox into school and decorate it cupid-style in anticipation of all the wonderful Valentines that will be delivered. And speaking of wonderful valentines, I thought it was high time for a review of the valentines we carry at our stores every year, broken down into my 3 Fs of quality. People don’t often think of going to their neighborhood toy store for valentines, but we carry a wide selection alongside all sorts of special little gifts for the occasion. I hope you think of us when the kids are ready to find those extra-special cards!
The valentines at Learning Express are made by a company called Peaceable Kingdom Press. It was started in 1983 by Olivia and Thacher Hurd. Thacher is the son of renowned children’s book artist Clement Hurd who illustrated the classic picture book Goodnight Moon among others. Peaceable Kingdom began by selling posters that featured Hurd’s illustrations, but they now work with more than a hundred different artists, creating products that “nourish children’s hearts, eyes, minds, and funny bones.”
The valentines are made from high quality paper and feature adorable graphics with plenty of character to go around. The bright colors definitely make them stand out and the variety includes plenty of themes that will do the boys proud. The cuteness factor is complemented by this year’s packaging, which is heart-shaped. (All together now, ”Awww….”) There are twenty valentines to a pack (four different card designs/messages included, based on the theme), and a set of stickers for decorating and sealing them closed. My favorite boy design is the Monster pack, and I think a lot of the girls will go for the Cupcakes or Funny Monkeys.
To conclude? The valentines are very appealing to adults and kids alike.
Mom or Dad will have to help open the package, but (for the Mess Monitors out there) all the components are wrapped in plastic inside so nothing will go flying if little ones tear into it themselves. I’d recommend using a nice color marker that matches the design for writing the To’s and From’s. The outside of the card is slightly glossy, but the ink dries within a few seconds.
The most inventive feature of the Peaceable Kingdom valentines is that they don’t require envelopes. Each card has a little flap that folds down and it then sealed with the stickers provided. This is very friendly to little hands especially. Beyond these facts, I suppose the real function of a card is to make someone feel good, which brings us to our next category.
Quite simply put? These valentines are charming. I am a huge fan of the stickers in particular, and I think both the giver and the receiver of these cards will be very happy campers. Now let the elementary-school emotions run wild! "Susie gave me a 'Be Mine' and Anthony only got a 'Friends Forever'… What could it MEAN?"
A very Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your family,