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The Children's Book of America Hardcover – November 2, 1998
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From School Library Journal
Grade 3-6-The Children's Book of America (S&S, 1998) is another in the series of books edited by William Bennett, who held top posts in both the Reagan and Bush administrations. This audio edition has a selection of 13 patriotic stories and songs. After a brief introduction by Bennett, items are organized chronologically beginning with a Native American legend about the Grand Canyon. Well-known events such as the Alamo and the first Thanksgiving are joined by lesser-known stories of a freed slave who sang in European courts and an Irish immigrant who cared for the orphans of New Orleans. "Yankee Doodle," "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" and "The Star Spangled Banner" are sung a cappella with short explanations added. The selection of myths about Paul Bunyan and John Henry enliven the informative but sometimes bland stories. All these selections are well-performed by Elayne Bennett, Hinton Battle, John McMartin and Phylicia Raishad. This recording offers teachers a chance to add audio media to class presentations on U.S. history. The plastic case will not stand up to heavy circulation. Not a necessary purchase, but interesting listening to supplement American history units.
Barbara S. Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Stories, poems, and songs on America: a follow-up to best sellers from Bennett like The Children's Book of Virtues.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Bennett has taken familiar vingettes (Pilgrims, Paul Bunyon, Johnny Apple Seed, Martin Luther King, Jr., moon walk, etc.) and presented them in a short form that is perfect for four to seven year olds and above.
Each story teaches lessons based on core values and can lead to good discussions with children in trying to explain the underlying values. The tales are also a wonderful introduction to the story of our country through our history and myths. They cover the range of the American Experience and are exactly the kind of tales that can serve as a launching pad to introduce youngsters to a wider exploration of our national heritage.
The stories themselves are well written and captivating (though my four year old's attention wandered with some -- it is for older than pre-school on the whole). The illustrations are first rate and help younger children understand the written story.
The format is perfect for bedtime stories -- good length for a one story a night reading. It is also one you'll want to return to again.
While perusing the comments, I noticed that some people accused William Bennett of being a racist. One must look at the context in which he made his statement. When the argument was made by a caller to a radio talk show that crime is down because abortion is up (theorizing that most aborted babies were from low income families) Bennett countered with, " But I do know that it's true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could -- if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down. So these far-out, these far-reaching, extensive extrapolations are, I think, tricky."
What could possibly be racist about this statement? I find it morally reprehensible that people would accuse anyone of being a rascist without first exploring the facts.
As we read through the stories, I couldn't help but get a lump in my throat and feel a sense of pride in our heritage. I am not implying we are better than any other country, but I am proud to be a part of the country we live in. These stories are written in easy to follow language for children. The stories are full of adventure, hope, persistence, bravery, and history. The illustrations help to bring the stories to life. Here is a list of the stories you will find in this book:
"America the Beautiful," Katharine Lee Bates
The Legend of the Grand Canyon
The Pilgrims and the First Thanksgiving
Father Junipero Serra
The Bravery of Abigail Adams
Westward with Lewis and Clark
The Story of "The Star Spangled Banner"
Abe Lincoln's School Days
"The Erie Canal"
Remember the Alamo!
"I Hear America Singing" Walt Whitman
The Tale of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"
Robert E. Lee and the Wounded Soldier
Magaret of New Orleans
"Home on the Range"
John Henry and the Steam Drill
"The New Colossus," Emma Lazarus
The Wizard of Menlo Park
Martin Luther King's Dream
The Eagle Has Landed
"America," Samuel Francis Smith
Despite the problem, I would recommend purchasing this book.