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America: A Patriotic Primer    by Lynne Cheney & Robin Preiss Glasser order for
by Lynne Cheney
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2002 (2002)

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The author tells us in her introduction that she wrote the book 'because I want my grandchildren to understand how blessed we are' and these sentiments come through clearly in her patriotic march through the alphabet, accompanied by 'we the people'. At the back are notes for further discussion.

The picture book is enlivened by Robin Preiss Glasser's inspiring illustrations - crowded with people of all ages and races - and interspersed with quotations from great Americans. There's Thomas Paine saying that 'We have it in our power to begin the world over again', Dr. Martin Luther King's 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere', and Thomas Jefferson's 'I cannot live without books.' There are details on how to fold the flag, timelines of key events, and all sorts of fascinating snippets of information.

The book begins 'A is for America, the land that we love', illustrated by the Statue of Liberty, naturally. Many letters of the alphabet are assigned to past presidents, e.g. L for Lincoln and W for Washington. I especially like the pages on H for Heroes (historical and current) and I for Ideals, N for Native Americans, and the very important R for Rights and T for Tolerance. X is cleverly assigned to mark important spots in the United States, and Y is addressed to 'You', the reader.

America: A Patriotic Primer is an inspiring picture book, which should indeed remind young Americans of how blessed they are, and give kids of other nations an overview of US history and culture.

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