cover image WE THE KIDS: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States

WE THE KIDS: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States

David Catrow, . . Dial, $16.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-2553-9

Catrow (She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head!), who doubles as a political cartoonist, writes in his amiable introduction, "When I paint my paintings and draw my cartoons, I can do them any way I want. Being able to do that makes me very happy and very free. And I think that's exactly what all those old guys with their big words and big ideas wanted," he says, referring to the authors of the Constitution and the liberty he enjoys as a result of their efforts. Following a casual glossary (e.g., "insure domestic tranquility" means "To make sure that we can all have a nice life and get along with one another"), he takes fresh liberties—he uses the Preamble as text for spry, loopy cartoons chronicling three eccentric-looking kids and a spirited pooch on a backyard camping caper. The characters review a poster outlining rules for the evening ("establish Justice"); wearing a helmet and looking bored, the dog stands guard as the kids frolic in the tent ("provide for the common defense"). And everyone snuggles under a blanket ("and secure the Blessings of Liberty") while two parents survey the placid scene from a window ("to ourselves and our Posterity"). With his customary satiric flair, Catrow inserts plentiful tongue-in-cheek visuals: a saucepan bouncing off one child's head while she sits entangled in another child's rope hardly suggests "domestic Tranquility." This zany, patriotic paean offers kids lighthearted but meaningful incentive to reflect further on the relevance of those "big words" and "big ideas." All ages. (May)