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RED, WHITE, BLUE, AND UNCLE WHO? by Teresa Bateman


The Stories Behind Some of America’s Patriotic Symbols

by Teresa Bateman & illustrated by John O’Brien

Age Range: 7 - 12

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2001
ISBN: 0-8234-1285-7
Publisher: Holiday House

How well do you know your country? From the better-known tale of the Statue of Liberty, to the less familiar story of the Great Seal, the meaning and history behind 17 patriotic sites and symbols are explored in depth. Readers will learn the amazing history behind the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and the mystery of that strange pyramid on the back of a one-dollar bill will finally be resolved. The national flag once had as many as 20 stripes and the White House was not originally intended to be white. Find out why there is an oval room in the White House, and discover how several of the monuments in the nation’s capital came to be. Bateman (A Plump and Perky Turkey, p. 1207, etc.) keeps interest high with well-written and easy to understand short chapters about each patriotic symbol. She chooses her facts well and doesn’t get bogged down with too much detail. But readers will miss an introduction to the book—it just jumps right into the first chapter about the American Flag. Also, a map of Washington D.C. would be a welcome addition, since eight of the symbols are located there. O’Brien’s (More True Lies, p. 592, etc.) humorous cartoon drawings add detail to the descriptions in the text, and are useful in helping the reader visualize the context of the symbol. However, the people in his drawings are rather eerie, with white eyes heavily circled in black, reminiscent of the Little Orphan Annie cartoons. Still, this is a must for elementary grades studying America’s early years. (Nonfiction. 7-12)