America: My Land, Your Land, Our Land

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This eclectic book hints at the country's immense range of landscape and, implicitly, of people; illustrations by 14 artists from different ethnic and racial backgrounds establish a corresponding diversity of styles. Nikola-Lisa's (Bein' with You This Way) minimal text presents opposites"wood land/ farm land," for example, and "wet land/ dry land"although readers may need to puzzle over the various illustrations to decipher how they demonstrate the contrast between "straight land/ round land" or even "low land/ high land." Among especially evocative illustrations, Michelle Reiko Kumata's soulful painting for "young land/ old land" shows a young girl and an old man in a boat, with background images suggesting the man's history as an emigrant, and Huy Lee's inventive, brightly lit photocollage for "hard land/ soft land" brings out the contrasts between urban streets and the small park enclosed by them. However, the art is uneven and the text does not integrate the range of styles in any meaningful way. An appendix profiles the illustrators, who supply explanations of their works. Their varied interpretations of the book's projectsome sought to capture personal memories, others to explore such pressing concerns as poverty and the environment, another simply to note contrasting climatescreate a conceptual cacophony. The result of this melee of agendas, as well as of styles, is a bit of a multicultural free-for-all. Ages 5-up. (May)
Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Fourteen different American artists of various ethnic backgrounds illustrate Nikola-Lisa's very simple rhythmic text. Biographies and photos of the artists are included. This is a picture book primarily to be used for discussion of the multiplicity of the heritage of our country. The illustrations of broad concepts are done in every conceivable medium, and are uniformly lovely.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-6Each of Nikola-Lisa's contrasting word combinations"Wood Land/Farm Land," "Wet Land/Dry Land"are set on juxtaposed pages beneath a picture drawn by one of 14 contributing artists. This format gives children the opportunity to extend the varied images with their own poems, essays, stories, and drawings, but the renderings can result in some confusion. Some artists depict the joint concepts on two opposing single pages (Keunhee Lee paints a beach scene for "Hot Land" and a snowy one for "Cold Land"), while others have chosen to illustrate their word pairings in one continuous spread. For instance, to picture "Straight Land/Round Land," Felicia Marshall uses a double-page scene of a fairground that includes both straight and round objects. The word "Straight," however, appears under the part of the picture showing balloons while "Round" is found under rows of cars. Only when reading the appended remarks from the illustrator do readers learn that Marshall chose the scene because she remembers how, as a child, "flat farm land changed into round land with the arrival of the county fair." In all cases, the commentaries are illuminating and sometimes become mandatory to understanding the presentation. With this in mind, enterprising adults will slip in a cassette of "This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land," and with a copy of America in hand, celebrate the diversity of this great country.Barbara Elleman, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
Kirkus Reviews
Seriously flawed as a concept book, this picture book offers rewards for readers interested in its specific merits. Nikola- Lisa (Tangletalk, p. 646, etc.) presents a pair of phrases for illustration in double-page spreads: "Wood Land/Farm Land/Wet Land/Dry Land/Rough Land/Smooth Land." Each of the 14 spreads is illustrated by a different artist. Therefore, there is not only a different style and medium for each, but a different way of looking at the definition of land: "Wet Land," for example, shows a family in a rowboat amid a few marsh grasses. The grasses and a nearby flamingo convey some sense of a wetland, but then why is the phrase rigidly two words? "Low Land/High Land" has in its background the suggestion of tiered hills, but there is a giant fish in the foreground of "High Land." Ice appears as "Smooth Land." This isn't a book for children as much as a showcase for several talented artists, among them Gregory Christie, Hector Viveros Lee, Erwin Printup, Jr., Enrique O. Sanchez, Yoriko It, and Huy Lee. To that end, an "About the Art" page includes photos of and quotations by the artists and information on their techniques and published works.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781880000373
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/1997
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 10.96 (h) x 0.36 (d)

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