cover image My Fourth of July

My Fourth of July

Jerry Spinelli, illus. by Larry Day. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4288-1

For Spinelli’s unnamed boy narrator, “the best day of all” is the Fourth of July: it begins with marching in the neighborhood parade in his pajamas and ends with being fast asleep in a red wagon after a glorious fireworks display. The hours in between are a happy confluence of summer fun (“Three-legged sack race!”), picnic food (hot dogs with grill stripes, deviled eggs, and cherry crumb pie), national pride (“The whole park is silent and still” awaiting a band’s national anthem performance), and community belonging (“For this one best day, the park is my backyard”). Day’s slice-of-life watercolors effortlessly shift focus from the boy to big crowd scenes and back again, always capturing the joy that comes from being both footloose and part of something bigger. Ages 4–8. [em](May) [/em]