Happy Birthday, America

Happy Birthday, America

by Mary Pope Osborne, Peter Catalanotto
     
 

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Bestselling author Mary Pope Osborne takes us through a lively celebration of the Fourth of July in small-town America. Three generations enjoy parades, popcorn, "Yankee Doodle Dandy," and at the end of the day, lightning bugs and fireworks. "Then I blow out the stars, as if they were candles on a giant birthday cake"--a glorious image in Peter Catalanotto's

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Overview

Bestselling author Mary Pope Osborne takes us through a lively celebration of the Fourth of July in small-town America. Three generations enjoy parades, popcorn, "Yankee Doodle Dandy," and at the end of the day, lightning bugs and fireworks. "Then I blow out the stars, as if they were candles on a giant birthday cake"--a glorious image in Peter Catalanotto's glowing illustrations.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
This sparkling tribute to the Fourth of July depicts how a family of eight living in a small town celebrates this favorite holiday. . . . The day is made up of little things, while the celebration is about big ones—community, freedom, and pride. Catalanotto's watercolor palette lends a candlelike glow to scenes as the expressive faces of kids and adults enjoy the occasion.
Publishers Weekly
Mary Pope Osborne (the Magic Tree House series) joins in a family's small-town Fourth of July celebration in Happy Birthday, America, illus. by Peter Catalanotto. Thickly applied watercolors depict the festivities, including a pet parade, picnic, concert and fireworks. An author's note details the origins of Independence Day traditions. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
"On the Fourth of July, Mom, Dad, Katie, Grandpa, Grandma, Aunt Beth, baby Jess, Bud the dog and I go to Memorial Park." The family spends the day celebrating the Fourth of July in time-honored ways. The young boy sells popcorn and pizza at the Pee Wee Football booth. Grandma sells raffle tickets for the American Legion. A pet parade, face painting, the Kiwani's penny pitch, balloons, firemen, ice cream and barbecued chicken cooked by the Knights of Columbus fill the day. And in the evening a blanket is spread under the stars where everyone sits to listen to the school band playing patriotic tunes and to a reading of the Declaration of Independence. As the last line of The Star Spangled Banner is sung the fireworks go off, burst and rain down "near the flag that is still there." This tale hints of earlier times when small town celebrations were, perhaps, more common than they are today. Grandparents, parents and small town kids may recognize this sort of old fashioned celebration, but it is unlikely to be familiar to those who live in today's cities and suburbs. Regrettably this book lacks the sizzle and excitement of a Fourth of July celebration. And illustrations that ought to sparkle don't. The colors are muddy and the pictures disconcertingly out of focus. The Fourth of July deserves better than this. 2003, Roaring Brook Press/The Millbrook Press,
— Anita Barnes Lowen
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Independence and patriotism are hard concepts for the very young to grasp. Osborne tackles this challenge through a nostalgic recollection of a small-town Fourth of July celebration. Food, fun, and family fill the day, with firemen; members of the Kiwanis, American Legion, and Knights of Columbus; and a local dance school and band all playing their parts. "Yankee Doodle," "Stars and Stripes Forever," Lady Liberty, reading from the Declaration of Independence, and a community singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" lead right into the "Oooooh!" "Ahhhh!" "Wow!" sparked by the fireworks. Finally, a happy, tired family drives home. Though most children would rather be at an event than read about the nice time others have, Osborne's text is an agreeable slice of life. Catalanotto's illustrations capture the festivities with selective realism and just enough detail. The author's notes cap the work with a few historical and personal tidbits. Libraries that need additional materials to support holiday collections will find this worthy of consideration even though the ideals of independence and patriotism remain elusive.-Jody McCoy, The Bush School, Seattle, WA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In a small town, which could be Anywhere, USA, a young boy narrates as three generations of family gather to spend the day celebrating July 4th. A pet parade, some time staffing the popcorn and pizza booth, a performance by his sister's dance class, then antique cars, and carnival games. Face painting and balloon sword fights are followed by water battles by local firemen. Finally, the family settles with their dinner for the concert under the stars. On the last note of the "Star Spangled Banner," the finale begins. As the fireworks light the sky, the children see shapes in the glowing sparks, and the young boy whispers, "Happy birthday, America," as he blows out the stars on America's birthday cake. These ordinary events add up to a surprisingly emotional story. Catalanotto's watercolor illustrations invoke summer, giving readers a glimpse of that season, and of the familiar activities surrounding the holiday. (Picture book. 5-9)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312380502
Publisher:
Square Fish
Publication date:
04/29/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
625,734
Product dimensions:
4.06(w) x 9.89(h) x 0.14(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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