WE, THE PEOPLE
An anniversary gift to his adopted country, Caldecott-winner Spier's pictorial representation of the aims set forth in the Constitution's preamble is a celebration of America's diversity. Four close-packed pages of text summarize the history of the document's composition and adoption; portraits of the signers and the Constitution's text appear in conclusion. But what distinguishes this oversize picture book from the many other books being published on the subject this year is Spier's dozens of vignettes, comparing past with present: blacksmith with auto mechanic, carpenter constructing a post-and-beam building with workers on modern steel girders, ballot boxes with voting machines, etc. At first it seems that the pictures will correspond one to one; but in fact the present day receives more than two thirds of the illustrations, emphasizing its greater range and complexity. Captions are few, beginning with the many agencies that help "promote the general Welfare"; though this looks like a picture book, it will serve best as a visual confirmation and elaboration of concepts already understood. Spier conveys precisely the sense of the Preamble's compact statement by his selection and arrangement of subjects, even as he conveys the essence of each subject in his deft miniatures. A book to pore over for its engaging detail or to use as an educational conversation piece.