Gr 3-6 Young Joshua Carpenter and his family enjoy the welcomed, unexpected chance to celebrate July 4, 1836, in a small Illinois town. They are just 30 days into the westward journey by Conestoga, leaving Pennsylvania to relocate somewhere in Illinois or Iowa. This is a serviceable addition to the short list of books about the Fourth of July that are in print. Costume and customs in the black-and-white photos (taken at a living history community near Indianapolis) authentically recreate an important celebration of Americanism for the proud new country of just 25 states. Here are hoop rolling, the ol' swimmin' hole, fiddle music and the reading of the Declaration of Independence at high noon at their best, authentic expressions of daily life lived before ``country collectibles'' and self-serving nostalgia. Elementary school libraries, in particular, will be able to make good use of this book. Unfortunately, neither the writing nor the photographs as a whole have the spark to light up this holiday for browsers as well as students. Anna Biagioni Hart, Sherwood Regional Library, Alexandria, Va.