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A Parade Through Our Star-Spangled History

by David Hewitt & illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt

Age Range: 8 - 10

Pub Date: June 3rd, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4169-4075-3
Publisher: Simon & Schuster

In this superficial review of our country’s history, Uncle Sam is cast as a Paul Bunyan–like figure who answered the British invasion of 1812 by calling on Andy Jackson to “beat the Red Coats in New Orleans” (never mind that the war was actually over before that battle was fought) and accompanied the trans-Mississippi settlers across an evidently uninhabited land. Later, readers see, he joined Lady Liberty in welcoming “all” of Europe’s immigrants (no mention of quotas, or of Asia for that matter) and so on through two World Wars and a Moon landing. Uncle Sam in 19th-century dress appears throughout, doffing his hat to the Statue of Liberty, standing with hands on the shoulders of Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King and, finally, marching with a crowd “boldly and courageously forward” to carry “a message of kindness and hope for the future.” With rhetoric (and a sensibility) that harks back to Robert Lawson’s equally problematic They Were Strong and Good (1940), this panorama will leave children pumped up but significantly underinformed. (Informational picture book. 8-10)