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America : A Patriotic Primer Hardcover – May 21, 2002

111 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Written by Lynne Cheney, author and wife of Vice President Richard Cheney, to honor this "beautiful land made more beautiful still by our commitment to freedom," America: A Patriotic Primer is a proud celebration of the individuals, milestones, and principles of this nation. Each busy spread features elaborately decorated letters of the alphabet, with one or two kids draped over its bars and loops, along with the highlighted concept or person: "N is for Native Americans, who came here first," "T is for Tolerance." Surrounding every letter is a veritable circus of entertaining and useful related information, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser (Alexander, Who's Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move). "J is for Jefferson," for example, is bordered with biographical details and quotations from Thomas Jefferson, while mini images depict the third president's famous home (Monticello), some of his inventions, and a description of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. This compelling picture book will work best as a supplement for children who are already immersed in basic American history at school. Teachers and parents will enjoy exploring with their kids every inch of the detailed, hand-drawn and illustrated U.S. map found in "U is for United States," explaining and elaborating on the historical lessons as appropriate. (All ages) --Emilie Coulter

From Publishers Weekly

The Second Lady teams up with Glasser (the You Can't Take a Balloon series) to create this well-intentioned ("I wrote this book because I want my grandchildren to understand how blessed we are," writes Cheney in her introduction) if rather listless alphabet book celebrating the United States and its history. Rendered in ink, watercolor washes and colored pencil, Glasser's detailed, bustling art features multiple images on each spread and inventive borders containing pictures and brief factoids, yet the spreads have a slightly washed-out quality. The alphabetical entries include renowned individuals (Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln), milestones in this country's history (The Constitution, The Declaration of Independence) and generic terms (heroes, ideals, oath, patriotism, suffrage, valor). As the alphabet winds down, Cheney strikes a sentimental note, drawing readers into her narrative with her assertion that "Y is for You and all you will be in this greatest of countries, the land of the free." Glasser then provides simulated snapshots of children with captions denoting their career aspirations (e.g., "future art critic" and "test pilot of tomorrow"). Although many of the anecdotes and quotations from presidents and other patriots appear in a tiny type face, children will likely pore over the pages to glean the interesting tidbits offered. Cheney's concluding notes provide details about some of the individuals or events mentioned on the prior pages. A competent though less than compelling tribute. All ages.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten and up
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (May 21, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689851928
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689851926
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 0.3 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lynne Cheney's most recent book is the New York Times bestseller, We the People: The Story of Our Constitution, illustrated by Greg Harlin. She is also the author of the New York Times bestsellers America: A Patriotic Primer, A is for Abigail: An Almanac of Amazing American Women, When Washington Crossed the Delaware: A Wintertime Story for Young Patriots, A Time for Freedom: What Happened When in America, and Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America, and has written a memoir, Blue Skies, No Fences. Mrs. Cheney is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, Vice President Richard B. Cheney.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

226 of 255 people found the following review helpful By Dee Collins on June 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have always associated Mrs. Cheney with conservative politics. I could not imagine her writing a book covering American history that I would not find distasteful for professing conservative philosophy. My liberal soul stood ready to detest whatever she wrote sight unseen. The first lesson I learned from "America: A Patriotic Primer" is that "T is for Tolerance", as I truly regret my liberal snobbery. This book should not be seen as authored by a conservative writer, but merely as one written by an American, one that truly loves America, American values, and America's promise through its children. Rightly, no political viewpoint is taken, other than professing the greatness of our history and the profundity of our ideals.
This is a book best read with your child not as a story book from cover to cover, but rather savored in an unhurried fashion by jumping from place to place. I think it is best to let one of Ms. Glasser's wonderfully cheerful illustrations draw your child in, and then let the discussion go from there.
This is a great first book on American history for any family with young children (whether that family leans "left" or "right") looking for a fun, informative, and simple approach to American patriotism.
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I was skeptical of a "Patriotic Primer" written by Mrs. Cheney, but I have to say that this is a wonderful book for readers ages 4-8, especially. I think elementary school teachers, who are struggling to work history into their curriculum, will find this book to be a treasure-trove of information and stepping off points for classroom discussion and projects. I find it refreshing that a "celebrity" book is an informative history book. Whatever you think of Mrs. Cheney, you can't argue with her on the need for our children to be better educated on American history. This is a book that will enlighten young readers as well as their parents. The detailed research notes in the back were of particular interest to me as an adult reader, and my 5 year old daugher loved the exuberant illustrations. Put your politics aside...this is a book for
all--young and old!
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I'm thinking back to a year ago at this time and remembering how spoiled we Americans felt. And then along came 9/11 and shocked us all into shifting our priorities. If there is a book for children that manages to capture the scope of our greatness, it is this wonderful book by Lynne Cheney. It should be given to every child, every elementary school teacher and librarian on the first day of school this year.
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39 of 46 people found the following review helpful By D. Rule on July 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
As I read America, A Patriotic Primer, I found myself wishing I could have a "do over" on instilling an interest in American history in my own children. I see that the book is written so that it can be read to a 4 year old or a 10 year old. There is as little or as much information as the age requires.
I see that this book would evoke curiosity in children.
I own a copy and will keep it handy for as yet unborn grandchildren. I think it is a fitting Grandmother's shelf volume to be read when they arrive.
Ms. Glasser's illustrations are wonderfully interesting and beautifully showcased.
I love that Mrs. Cheney used the alphabet to instill important concepts, institutions, and figures in our country's history. I appreciate that she gave fair attention to women, minorities, leaders, soldiers, patriots, founders, artists........when you start really reading the 'fine print' the list is quite impressive. The beauty of the book is that it can be read over and over with a little more 'noticed' and learned each time.
I think this book should be available to every child in America. It is a book that will instill deeper understanding and ownership of our American heritage.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Tane on May 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
... However, 5 stars it DOES deserve as an educational/resource book about prominent historical events, people, and American ideals that shaped our country. It is written in short/simplistic phrases; however, the back of the book has a reference quide which gives a little more detail for each section (i.e. short biographies or facts about dates and events).
This is NOT a book to try to read at bedtime! It is not written in a "story" format. It is more a book to take your time with on an afternoon sitting down with your child and reviewing a few pages at a time....gazing at the pictures, talking with them in more detail about what each of the things means to America and the importance of it in our lives. It is more a book to use for educating and as a resource book for the "main" thing to know about a historical figure/event/or ideals that shaped America.
I found the artwork to be "charming"! I found the pictures to
be bright and detailed! The pictures are not "big" and "bold" as you would prefer for younger ages (under age7). The pictures are small and detailed with many scenes on one page. The scenes include pictures of historical buildings (white house, statue of liberty, supreme court, etc), events (thanksgiving, civil war, etc), people (Lincoln, Washington, Martin Luther King Jr, etc). and ideals (voting, peaceful assembly, valor, tolerence, etc).
In summary, this book is not a book to read at bedtime; however,
you would like this book if you use books as an introduction to family discussions and are prepared to introduce more detailed information during the discussions.
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