America the Beautiful
America the Beautiful

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Annotation: Four verses of the nineteenth-century poem, illustrated by the author's great-great-grandnephew.
Genre: Poetry
Catalog Number: #44455
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition Date: 2010
Illustrator: Gall, Chris,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-316-08338-0 Perma-Bound: 0-605-43724-6
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-316-08338-6 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-43724-1
Dewey: 811
LCCN: 2003054552
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
All four verses of the beloved song are presented in this well-designed book. Minor's watercolor and gouache illustrations showcase both America's natural beauty (Niagara Falls, Yellowstone National Park) and human-made monuments, including the "Tribute in Light" memorial at the World Trade Center site. One-page biographies of Bates and Samuel Augustus Ward, who wrote the song's music, conclude the book.
Kirkus Reviews
Gall, an actual descendant of Bates, illustrates the four verses of this country's other national anthem with bold, clean-lined, heroic American scenes, from a sturdy rural couple contemplating their "amber waves," to firefighters raising a flag over the ruins at Ground Zero. This broadly idealistic art is infused with a spirit of inclusiveness, as blind Justice towers over a woman in judicial robes, a Tuskegee Airman poses heroically atop his fighter, and in the concluding spread, East meets West in more ways than one at Utah's Promontory Point. Gall's explanatory statements for each illustration precede a musical setting at the end. Pair this uplifting debut with Barbara Younger's Purple Mountain Majesties , illustrated by Stacey Schuett (1998), which focuses on the poem's composer. (introduction) (Picture book/poem. 6-10)
Publishers Weekly
Pairing Katharine Lee Bates's famous 1895 poem with majestic watercolor panoramas, Wendell Minor creates a breathtaking visual journey to some of the country's diverse landscapes and monuments in America the Beautiful. He takes readers from coast to coast in full-bleed spreads, highlighting many of America's famous landmarks, from a space shuttle launch against a vivid Florida sky to a serene, golden Kansas wheatfield. The realistic paintings stretch across the centuries as well, including one of the 1627 Plimoth Plantation and another depicting the New York City skyline post-Sept. 11, 2001 (alongside the verse, """"Thine alabaster/ cities gleam/ Undimmed/ by human tears!"""" the nighttime skyline shows the two memorial beams of light where the World Trade Center towers once stood). Concluding pages explain each illustration's location and significance.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-This pictorial salute to the many facets of our country's physical landscapes and historical moments is a good way to introduce young listeners to Bates's 19th-century poem and, through the music of Samuel Augustus Ward, to a classic patriotic song. Following an author's note that clarifies some background information on the poem and Minor's approach to his illustrations, each spread proceeds to feature one to two lines of verse accompanied by an oil painting, rich in color and precise in detail. The art itself tells a story, both in time and space, moving from a pilgrim family's quiet New England town to the roar of a NASA space shuttle, from a solitary farm amid the wheat fields of Kansas to the Manhattan skyline. Readers can trace our country's founding, Westward expansion, Kitty Hawk, and 9/11 (represented by the twin beams of light). Just as importantly, they can see the variety of physical features, from vast oceans to rugged mountains, from unending meadows to quiet streams. Short biographical notes on both Bates and Ward (accompanied by copies of the handwritten poem and the original hymn), four pages of pictorial notes, and a map of the U.S. delineating each illustration's exact location are appended. Unlike Neil Waldman's America the Beautiful (Atheneum, 1993), this version offers all four verses. Use it with primary grades to introduce the song and with intermediate grades to discuss the historical perspective and geographical information behind the paintings.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* The song America the Beautiful gets a striking treatment from illustrator Gall, who opens with an introduction to the words, which were written as a poem in 1893 by 24-year-old Bates. The words were set to several different pieces of music, until, finally, a tune, written many years earlier, became the accepted version. Just as those who hear the song feel inspired by the patriotic sentiments, children will be stirred by Gall's pictures. Using hand engraving on clay-covered board and enhancing elements such as color with a computer, he offers a series of pictures resembling woodcuts in form and WPA paintings in style. The images celebrate the history and beauty of the U.S. as they link to the lyrics. God shed His grace on thee is illustrated by a bird's-eye view of a snow-covered town with a church spire in a prominent position. The relatively obscure second verse offers opportunities for artwork featuring immigrants coming to America, and a picture of the Tuskegee Airmen accompanies a line about heroes. A key at the book's conclusion has postage-size reproductions of all the artwork along with brief descriptions. Gall is a distant relative of Katharine Bates; he does her work proud.
Reading Level: 2.9
Interest Level: P-2
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 2.9 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 80308 / grade: Lower Grades
Lexile: AD500L

From his unique perspective as the great, great grandnephew of "America the Beautiful" writer, Katharine Lee Bates, Chris Gall transforms this beloved patriotic song into monumental works of art--from purple mountain majesties to gleaming alabaster cities. Honoring his ancestry and national pride, Gall pairs the beautiful lyrics with striking illustrations of notable American images such as Pike's Peak, the Tuskgee Airmen, and firefighters raising the American flag at Ground Zero.

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