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AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL

Author: Katharine Lee Bates; Illustrator: Chris Gall

From his unique perspective as the great-great-grandnephew of Katharine Lee Bates, the woman who wrote "America the Beautiful," Gall transforms this symbol of American strength and beauty — from "purple mountain majesties" to gleaming "alabaster cities"— into monumental works of art.

Honoring his ancestry and expressing his national pride, Gall enhances these lyrics with historical and contemporary imagery as diverse as Sacagawea's travels with Lewis and Clark, the Tuskegee Airmen, and firefighters raising the American flag at Ground Zero. Musical notation and an author's note, as well as the song's words written in Bates's own hand, are also included in this book for children of all ages.

From Publishers Weekly
In his first picture book, Gall offers an innovative interpretation of this classic paean to our blossoming country, penned in 1893 by his great-great-great-aunt. Finding his own inspiration in this legacy (a copy of the lyrics reproduced on the book's endpapers hung in his childhood home), this skilled artist creates striking, boldly hued graphics by hand engraving clay-coated board and then digitizing with Adobe illustrator. Gall blends primitive and sophisticated elements to convey a three-dimensional look. His artwork celebrates the diverse contributions of all Americans. For the refrain, "From sea to shining sea," he depicts Sacajawea and her son traveling the Missouri River with Lewis and Clark in 1805; members of the first African-American flying unit, known as the Tuskegee Airmen, surround their WWII plane for "O beautiful for heroes proved/ In liberating strife." He also includes more recent images, such as the firemen of 9/11 hoisting the flag at Ground Zero for "Who more than self their country loved/ And mercy more than life!" In rural, family scenes, a couple rides a tractor through "amber waves of grain" in the 1930s, and parents and child survey the "purple mountain majesty" of Pike's Peak. This affecting composite portrait of the country Bates so eloquently serenaded provides a spirit-lifting accompaniment to her rousing lyrics. All ages.
© Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.
$16.95 (hardcover)
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