America the Beautiful: Together We Stand

Katharine Lee Bates, illus. by Bryan Collier, Raúl Colón, et al. Scholastic/Orchard, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-49207-2
Yuyi Morales, Jon J Muth, and LeUyen Pham are among 10 top-drawer illustrators that form a more perfect union of sorts, interpreting lines from Bates’s popular patriotic song; each spread also features a stirring quote from a famous American. Some artists take a direct approach: Harry Potter illustrator Mary GrandPré, who has “For amber waves of grain,” and a quote from Thomas Jefferson (“I believe... that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another”) shows a trio of children in a radiant field of grass, turning a weathered tree trunk into a literal prairie schooner. Sonia Lynn Sadler, one of several artists that go the mural route, contributes the book’s most striking and least literal image; she uses “Above the fruited plain” (paired with the opening of the Gettysburg Address) to imagine a quilting bee where Americans of all ages and backgrounds stitch together patches celebrating the nation’s greatest hits (the Statue of Liberty, the St. Louis arch, the space shuttle), a smart outlet for her folk-art style. A visually rich and much-needed reminder of America’s collective resilience. All ages. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/12/2012
Release date: 01/01/2013
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