The Barnes & Noble Review
Illustrator Wendell Minor takes readers on a journey through America, giving a majestic tribute to our country and Katherine Lee Bates's famous patriotic poem.
In lush pictures that capture the spirit of America's landscape and history, Minor whisks readers to various corners of the country -- including the New England, the Deep South, and the Rocky Mountains -- throughout all four verses of "America the Beautiful." Minor's "amber waves of grain" showcases a Kansas wheat field, with its golden expanses under an enormous sky, while the Wright brothers' flying airplane depicts "every gain divine" at Kitty Hawk. Other gorgeous features include Mount Rushmore and the Empire State Building, with back-of-the-book biographies of Bates and composer Samuel Augustus Ward, short blurbs about each of the scenes, and a U.S. map showing all of the locations rounding out the book.
A remarkably beautiful read that stands out among the many "America the Beautiful" picture books, Minor's rendition will indeed stir your soul. The book's scenes are vast and breathtaking, with vibrant colors that make each illustration leap off the page. A wonderful idea for gift giving to young patriots, and a rich tool for learning about the U.S. of A.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A Wellesley professor's trip to Pikes Peak in 1893 inspired the now-famous verse extolling the American landscape; Waldman ( Light ; Bring Back the Deer ) writes that his own travels west instilled in him an awe of ``beauty beyond the realm of imagination.'' Using Bates's verse as his text, Waldman paints scene after scene, matching every phrase to a specific locale (these are identified in a well-designed key at the end). He pays homage to the ``spacious skies'' (above the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee), the ``purple mountain majesties'' (the Grand Tetons) and the ``fruited plains'' (the Napa Valley). Impressively and imaginatively, he conveys his wonder at natural beauty by stylizing his art: he renders each vista in thick, impressionistic strokes from a predominantly violet palette, choosing his colors as if from a paradigmatic sunset. Beautiful indeed. All ages. (July)
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. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
America the Beautiful by Bates is the song that most kids hear at ball games. The pictures in this book are by Waldman who really helps readers see what the words of the song are saying. Whether it's the purple mountains, canyons, or an eagle in a blue sky, the pictures shows the beauty that goes from sea to shinning sea.
School Library Journal
K Up-Waldman has produced 14 stunning acrylic paintings to illustrate the first stanza of Bates's poem, and the America depicted here is as beautiful as hers must have been in 1893. Each picture is reproduced in miniature and accompanied by a brief explanation of the site at the back of the book. Although it really needs no interpretation to be appreciated and enjoyed as art, some of the impressionistic portraits will not be easily recognized. It is therefore useful to learn that ``purple mountains'' rise majestically in the Grand Tetons of northern Wyoming and the ``fruited plain'' is in California's Napa Valley. Even for the familiar, such as Mount Rushmore, the information is of interest. A fine title that should inspire its readers with a desire to see these wonders for themselves.-Linda Greengrass, Bank Street College Library, New York City