WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT AMERICANS by Ruby Shamir

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT AMERICANS

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 7
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A paean to Americans that features a heavy emphasis on diversity.

This fact is immediately indicated by the “It’s a Small World” cover illustration—jammed with people of seemingly every possible category, including a lad in a wheelchair, women in hijab, and an interracial female couple holding hands. Readers will soon max out on the overbusy and slightly caricatured illustrations that crowd each page, sometimes with a forced whimsy that defies rhyme and reason (Lady Liberty holds a huge ice cream cone). Depictions of Native Americans, presidents and patriots, Russian Jews, and robust mustachioed immigrant men fulfill customary stereotypes, and the author trots out the “apple pie” trope, informing readers that its roots are international (but fails to explain how apples got to North America from what is now Kazakhstan). The oversimplified text does a disservice to complicated issues: “Even if we make bad laws, we can always fix our mistakes.” Similarly, slavery is glossed over, citing only the fact that “enslaved people suffered and were denied every possible freedom.” With these caveats, the author’s apparent intention of celebrating immigration to the U.S. is a laudable one, and she hints that “rules” are prohibiting open access. A timeline provides an overview of landmark moments including the Iroquois Confederacy, Chinese Exclusion Act, and opening of Ellis Island.

A simplistic but good-hearted effort. (author’s note, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 18th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-524-73803-7
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2019




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