ABC USA by Martin Jarrie


by & illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 8
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Using long, stylized figures on chipped-paint backgrounds for a folk-art look, Jarrie tours common US sights, locales and symbols in this alphabetical showcase. Fortunately for young viewers, he includes explanatory notes at the end, because several of the scenes—“A is for alligator,” “O is for oranges”—are unidentifiably generic and the musician standing at the “X-roads” would otherwise be a lost reference to anyone unfamiliar with Robert Johnson lore. Even so, his information is sometimes iffy, including, for instance, a simplistic account of the crack in the Liberty Bell, and the misleading implication that WWII’s code-talkers were all Navajo. As the Provensens and others have demonstrated, this homespun visual idiom can work well as illustration, but here the ABC format is strictly a pretext. For background on our land and its symbols, Sheila Keenan’s O Say Can You See? (2004), illustrated by Ann Boyajian, is only the latest of several more reliable sources. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 15th, 2005
ISBN: 1-4027-1619-2
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Sterling
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2005