AMERICA IS...

Louise Borden, Author, Stacey Schuett, Illustrator , illus. by Stacey Schuett. S&S/McElderry $16.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-689-83900-9

"America is our country./ It is the place we call home," begins this unabashedly patriotic picture book. Each spread focuses on a defining aspect of the nation, from the flag's symbolism to the country's ethnic diversity. Borden (The Little Ships) brings little individuality to this familiar subject. She praises America's "very first people/ ... / whose words bring wisdom/ to all who listen" as well as "those of us who came later:/ many kinds of people/ from many countries of the world./ We are one family,/ and one team./ We are Americans." The author touches down in farming country ("America is.../ old barns/ and country roads,/ fields of corn/ and wheat"), on busy urban streets ("America is skyscrapers,/ tall, with many windows,/ up,/ up,/ up"), the prairie ("tall grass,/ and wind,/ and stars") as she introduces the basic elements of democracy ("America is.../ the land where we are free./ To live./ To speak out./ To worship./ To work./ To play./ To follow our dreams"). As the text travels from New England to the Pacific Northwest, Niagara Falls to Western rodeos, Schuett's (Purple Mountain Majesties) stirring illustrations take full advantage of the sweeping scope. Her mixed-media paintings offer expansive vistas as well as focused vignettes, all peopled with a multicultural cast. Ages 6-9. (May)

Reviewed on: 04/15/2002
Release date: 05/01/2002
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