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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA by Mary Pope Osborne

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, AMERICA

By Mary Pope Osborne (Author) , Peter Catalanotto (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: May 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7613-1675-2
Publisher: Roaring Brook

In a small town, which could be Anywhere, USA, a young boy narrates as three generations of family gather to spend the day celebrating July 4th. A pet parade, some time staffing the popcorn and pizza booth, a performance by his sister’s dance class, then antique cars, and carnival games. Face painting and balloon sword fights are followed by water battles by local firemen. Finally, the family settles with their dinner for the concert under the stars. On the last note of the “Star Spangled Banner,” the finale begins. As the fireworks light the sky, the children see shapes in the glowing sparks, and the young boy whispers, “Happy birthday, America,” as he blows out the stars on America’s birthday cake. These ordinary events add up to a surprisingly emotional story. Catalanotto’s watercolor illustrations invoke summer, giving readers a glimpse of that season, and of the familiar activities surrounding the holiday. (Picture book. 5-9)