PURPLE MOUNTAIN MAJESTIES by Barbara Younger

PURPLE MOUNTAIN MAJESTIES

The Story of Katharine Lee Bates and ``America the Beautiful''
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 10
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In 1893, when she was 34, Wellesley English professor Katharine Lee Bates took a train trip from Boston to Colorado Springs to teach summer school. She kept a diary, as she had since she was nine, and wrote down odds and ends of observation and poetry when she could. She saw Niagara Falls, stopped off to visit a friend and see the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, where she marveled at Mr. Ferris’s Wheel and the gleaming white buildings. While in Colorado, she briefly glimpsed the top of Pike’s Peak, and the beginning of poem began to form. Combined with her other jottings, it would become “America the Beautiful,” set to a hymn by Samuel Ward. Using original sources, Younger makes a living character out of Bates, whose quirks and full-bodied charm gracefully flow from the letters and diary excerpts. Schuett’s illustrations, with their slightly exaggerated forms and saturated colors, capture not only the “fruited plains” and “alabaster cities” but vistas of Bates’s hometown of Falmouth, and intimate scenes of her cozy bedside table and the parlor where she welcomed guests. A wonderful historical endnote will be appreciated by those who think they are too old for picture books, or those working on school reports. Put this on display near Barbara Cooney’s Miss Rumphius (1982) and Michael Bedard’s Emily (1992). (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: June 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-525-45653-8
Page count: 40pp
Publisher: Dutton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 1998




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