cover image AMERICA: A Patriotic Primer

AMERICA: A Patriotic Primer

Lynne Cheney, , illus. by Robin Preiss Glasser. . S&S, $16.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-689-85192-6

The Second Lady teams up with Glasser (the You Can't Take a Balloon series) to create this well-intentioned ("I wrote this book because I want my grandchildren to understand how blessed we are," writes Cheney in her introduction) if rather listless alphabet book celebrating the United States and its history. Rendered in ink, watercolor washes and colored pencil, Glasser's detailed, bustling art features multiple images on each spread and inventive borders containing pictures and brief factoids, yet the spreads have a slightly washed-out quality. The alphabetical entries include renowned individuals (Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln), milestones in this country's history (The Constitution, The Declaration of Independence) and generic terms (heroes, ideals, oath, patriotism, suffrage, valor). As the alphabet winds down, Cheney strikes a sentimental note, drawing readers into her narrative with her assertion that "Y is for You and all you will be in this greatest of countries, the land of the free." Glasser then provides simulated snapshots of children with captions denoting their career aspirations (e.g., "future art critic" and "test pilot of tomorrow"). Although many of the anecdotes and quotations from presidents and other patriots appear in a tiny type face, children will likely pore over the pages to glean the interesting tidbits offered. Cheney's concluding notes provide details about some of the individuals or events mentioned on the prior pages. A competent though less than compelling tribute. All ages. (May)

FYI:The author's net proceeds from the sale of the book are being donated to the American Red Cross and to projects that foster appreciation of American history. A portion of the publisher's proceeds from the sale of the book will also be donated to the Red Cross.