The Association's Bicentennial anthology is arranged so that reading the 22 selections from start to finish gives you a young onlooker's view of American history from a reading of the Declaration of Independence to the 1969 moon walk as viewed on a new TV. But such bunching, along with Lonette's leveling drawings, also causes the anemia of the majority of the pieces to pervade the whole. The many excerpts lack even the resonance of their book-length wholes--Thee, Hannah!, Carolina's Courage, Blue Willow, etc.--which, even in toto, are considerably weaker now than they once seemed. Historical episodes in which the children are central participants--Dorothy Sterling's Mary Jane integrating a junior high, Yoshiki Uchida's Yuki packing for an internment camp in 1941--work better than those in which fleeting contact with the great--praise from Paul Revere for a brave little girl, Frederick Douglass teaching a runaway slave to write his name, a voting booth conversation with candidate Lincoln--is the fluttery, golly-jeepers point. But invariably, reality is softened and conflict deflected: a poor family gets a decent apartment and papa a job; a migrant girl gets a nice teacher; an Alaskan bush pilot rescues lost Eskimos instead of killing off their wildlife as is more likely; and even an old Revolutionary War veteran, found to have fought on the other side, turns out to be a drafted orphan who chose America and freedom later when he had the chance. In all, a blur of demure and faded calico.