cover image From Sea to Shining Sea; A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs

From Sea to Shining Sea; A Treasury of American Folklore and Folk Songs

Amy L. Cohn. Scholastic, $29.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-590-42868-2

This sumptuous anthology gathers into its generous embrace a rich mix of cultural heritages, from Native American and African American to Hispanic, Pennsylvania Dutch, Cajun, Jewish, Shaker, Scandinavian and others. The resulting medley of folk songs, folklore, prose and poetry is as lovely as an Appalachian patchwork quilt, with each piece a unique but integral part of the whole. Each of 15 Caldecott artists--including Chris Van Allsburg, Barbara Cooney, Donald Crews, Molly Bang and Ed Young--provides stylish illustrations for an entire unit of the book, which is divided chronologically and thematically. Creation stories, pourquoi tales and a Navajo song conjure up America ``In the Beginning'' (Leo and Diane Dillon illustrate this section); the American revolution, the immigrant experience, slavery, westward expansion, tall tales, ghost stories and baseball all receive their due. The final section, ``In Our Time,'' features numerous 20th-century landmarks (including Martin Luther King Jr.'s ``I Have a Dream'' speech) as well as folklore from such latter-day immigrant cultures as Vietnamese, Haitian and Cuban. What better way for children to get acquainted with their country's wealth of diversity than through an all-star collaboration like this? All ages. (Oct.)