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We the Kids: The Preamble to the Constitution of the United States Paperback – April 21, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Sooner or later, just about every American kid is required to memorize the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States. And until now, it was one of the more boring, meaningless assignments. But artist and political cartoonist David Catrow (Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon) has changed all that with his witty, clear-as-a-Liberty-Bell picture book. For him, the Constitution is "a kind of how-to book, showing us ways to have happiness, safety, and comfort." With laugh-out-loud cartoony illustrations, and the actual words of the Preamble as the only text, Catrow depicts a camping trip taken by a diverse, bumbling group of friends, demonstrating the rights and responsibilities the Constitution places on all Americans, young and old. In one especially winning picture, the kids' long-nosed, long-eared pooch provides "for the common defense," keeping lackadaisical guard over the camp as the three human friends yuk it up in silhouette inside the tent. Readers will never yawn at mention of the Constitution again! (Ages 8 to 12) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Catrow (She's Wearing a Dead Bird on Her Head!), who doubles as a political cartoonist, writes in his amiable introduction, "When I paint my paintings and draw my cartoons, I can do them any way I want. Being able to do that makes me very happy and very free. And I think that's exactly what all those old guys with their big words and big ideas wanted," he says, referring to the authors of the Constitution and the liberty he enjoys as a result of their efforts. Following a casual glossary (e.g., "insure domestic tranquility" means "To make sure that we can all have a nice life and get along with one another"), he takes fresh liberties he uses the Preamble as text for spry, loopy cartoons chronicling three eccentric-looking kids and a spirited pooch on a backyard camping caper. The characters review a poster outlining rules for the evening ("establish Justice"); wearing a helmet and looking bored, the dog stands guard as the kids frolic in the tent ("provide for the common defense"). And everyone snuggles under a blanket ("and secure the Blessings of Liberty") while two parents survey the placid scene from a window ("to ourselves and our Posterity"). With his customary satiric flair, Catrow inserts plentiful tongue-in-cheek visuals: a saucepan bouncing off one child's head while she sits entangled in another child's rope hardly suggests "domestic Tranquility." This zany, patriotic paean offers kids lighthearted but meaningful incentive to reflect further on the relevance of those "big words" and "big ideas." All ages. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: NP (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (April 21, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142402761
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142402764
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.1 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As David Catrow tells us in his introduction, "...For me, the Constitution is a kind of how-to book, showing us ways to have happiness, safety, and comfort...", and he uses his immeasurable talents as an artist and cartoonist to teach an inspirational and unforgettable lesson that is sure to open interesting discussions at home and school. Following a glossary of what the actual words in the Preamble of the Constitution mean, (e.g. "IN ORDER TO FORM A MORE PERFECT UNION: To come together and make things better for everyone who lives in our country. INSURE DOMESTIC TRANQUILITY: To make sure we can all have a nice life and get along with one another. TO OURSELVES AND OUR POSTERITY: For kids, parents, other grown-ups, and all the people born in our country after we are."), Mr Catrow details the meaning of these important ideals, phrase by phrase, using his marvelously bold and busy cartoon illustrations. Each two page spread is a clever feast for the eyes, rich in engaging details, manic energy, and droll humor. Perfect for youngsters 8-12, We The Kids is a witty and memorable treasure, and one of the real winners of 2002 that shouldn't be missed.
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Format: Hardcover
This fun book helped me to reach my fifth grade class in a way their social studies text never would have! Catrow finds a way to take the elegant (and sometimes difficult to translate into kid-talk) language of the Preamble and not only make it simeple to understand, but really helps put the kids right in there.
He makes it clear that this is a document for all Americans, not only including kids, but maybe especially for kids.
His buddy 'Bubbs', is pictured throughout so even the less than interested can be drawn in by finding the dog...
So glad I found this!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a librarian, I recommend this book for everyone from 5 to 105. All right, this is actually a picture book that depicts some wonderful insights into our freedom and basic tenets of this great nation from a child's viewpoint. The hilarious illustrations by David Catrow will delight readers of all ages and will be fun for those who are not even studying the Constitution. For those students who are studying the Constitution, this book would be a great visual aid to memorizing the Preamble. I have not met a teenager who didn't enjoy a quick read in a great children's picture book. Teachers: Why not reduce the stress level of your students and let them begin their studies with this light-hearted look into some very serious words? Buy a couple of copies and circulate them through the class. Everyone will love them. For the younger reader, ESL or special ed student there is one page explaining the basic meaning of these words and another page and a half explaining why anyone bothered to write the Constitution of the United States. It's ALL GREAT!
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I read a research study recently that found that struggling readers comprehend picture books better when the author is also the illustrator. This book has got to be the exception to this study’s findings! While the author also did the illustrations, the text and illustrations do not go together at all.

First off, the book starts with two pages that basically describe the author’s feelings about the preamble. It is wordy to the point that no child would ever sit through it. The third page consists of vocabulary words from the preamble with the author’s definitions. These definitions are dumbed down to the point that they are no longer accurate. These definitions are insulting to students everywhere. After that, each page has a line from the preamble. That’s it! That’s the rest of the book. The preamble line-by-line with extremely confusing illustrations to, I guess, help students comprehend the text.

I paid a little less than two dollars for this book with the hope of using it in my classroom. After reading it, I wouldn’t disrespect a student enough to give it to them. Students are capable of understanding much more than this. I work with second and third graders and they would get bored with this book so quickly. I wouldn’t blame them. Please do not waste your money. There are better books out there.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was very disappointed in this book. I purchased it as an introduction of our Constitutional history for my 6 yr. old. It is little more than a picture book with one line of dialogue on each page. Dealing with a 6 yr. old who is always asking why and inquistive-normal for six yrs., this book could have expended thru out on the topic with more substance. Geared more for childrens in lower age of age catagory listed.
Savanna
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Format: Paperback
If you are teaching your children about the preamble to the constitution and are looking for something fun to use as a tool, this is NOT the book you want to purchase. It's opinionated. For example the author states: "it (the Constitution) gave us rights and privileges that nobody had ever had before." The constitution states the rights contained are granted by God, not the constitution. The interpretation of what some of the words and/or phrases in the preamble mean are off. For example: "Promote the general welfare: To help make life good for everybody. Having enough to eat, a place to live, being safe and having friends and fun times are some of the things that make our lives good." You're kidding, right? Lastly, the author instructs children to "check out what the dog is doing in the story to understand what the words in the preamble mean, but the illustrations either vaguely connect with the words or don't connect at all. How does a dog dragging a huge backpack up a hill illustrate forming a more perfect union? Further, I certainly don't want my children thinking domestic tranquility means watching television! Skip it.
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