cover image The Flag We Love

The Flag We Love

Pam Munoz Ryan. Charlesbridge Publishing, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-88106-845-0

Strike up the band and prepare to salute-this patriotic picture book unabashedly celebrates the Stars and Stripes. In a series of earnest verses, Ryan (One Hundred Is a Family) introduces young readers to our national symbol and the ideals for which it stands (""Americans stand together/ Before ceremonies start/ And promise their allegiance/ With their hands across their hearts""), while prose insets offer historical tidbits in a sidebar format. The book's clean, airy layout contrasts with Masiello's (The Extinct Alphabet Book) intense, sometimes murkily-hued oil paintings, which echo Ryan's text in their solemnity and fervor. Nonetheless, the result should delight Yankee Doodle dandies everywhere, and could help spark discussion on the basic elements of democracy. All ages. (Feb.)