I Pledge Allegiance
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I Pledge Allegiance

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by Bill Martin Jr., Chris Raschka

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"Finally, here's a picture book that helps young children move beyond rote recitation of the Pledge to find meaning in its language. This is the book parents and teachers have been waiting for." — BOOKLIST (starred review)

"I led a pigeon to the flag" . . . "and to the wee puppet" . . . "one nation, and a


"Finally, here's a picture book that helps young children move beyond rote recitation of the Pledge to find meaning in its language. This is the book parents and teachers have been waiting for." — BOOKLIST (starred review)

"I led a pigeon to the flag" . . . "and to the wee puppet" . . . "one nation, and a vegetable" . . . What was that again? Children in the United States have been reciting the Pledge of Allegiance since 1892 — and for about that long, they've found its big words confusing. Now, beloved children's book author Bill Martin Jr (BROWN BEAR, BROWN BEAR, WHAT DO YOU SEE?), fellow literacy expert Michael Sampson, and Caldecott Honor-­winning artist Chris Raschka give America's children a hand, and explain this patriotic poem once and for all. A new paperback edition offers notes and suggested activities to help parents and teachers make this book even more interesting to and fun for children.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"This cleverly designed volume spells out the concrete meaning behind the words in the Pledge of Allegiance while deftly communicating the democratic spirit and principles that inspired it," PW wrote. Ages 6-9. (July) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Bill Martin, Jr. states, "It's a miracle that children can even recite the Pledge of Allegiance with its sophisticated and complex language, yet they jump right in." To help them know what they are saying he and Sampson have defined single words and phrases of the entire text. The history of the pledge, reasons for the colors of the flag, and etiquette while saying the pledge can all be found in the explanations. In discussing the words, "under God" they state, "Many people believe that a democracy is a reflection of how God thinks—every single person is important." Raschka's illustrations are created with ink and torn paper. The people have a childlike, chalkboard retro look which will broaden the appeal to a wider reader age range. The full pledge, without breaks, is included in the back of the book. This book can be used not only to help a child or new immigrant understand the pledge, but also as a discussion starter in social studies classes. 2002, Candlewick Press,
— Sharon Salluzzo
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-This engaging, informative book not only emphasizes the importance of this ritual, but also gives the history and significance of each word and phrase, e.g., "A pledge is a promise." "Allegiance is loyalty." Raschka's eye-catching and appealing illustrations done in ink and torn paper add interest and lightness to the pages. His spare, stylized cartoon figures effectively convey the intangible concepts of liberty and justice with the same deft touch as for the concrete concepts. This title is perfect for primary-grade children as they learn to recite this oath.-Krista Tokarz, Cuyahoga County Public Library, OH Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This attempt to explain the Pledge’s meaning to younger children is at least as simplistic as it is enlightening. Using a combination of torn paper and simple, fluidly brushed strokes, Raschka (Be Boy Buzz, p. 1310, etc.) supplies a brightly colored backdrop of stylized children and adults, against which the Pledge’s words, generally one by one, are printed in large type and glossed in smaller: "God. Many people believe that a democracy is how God thinks—every single person is important." Martin and Sampson (Tricks or Treat?, below, etc.) fill in bits of the historical background, mentioning Frances Bellamy, the Pledge’s original composer, but not that his version was very different from the present one, and closing with a dizzying recapitulation: "The flag stands for our history, our inventions, our music, sports, literature, faith . . . " Children curious about the meaning of what so many of them are compelled to promise every morning in school will get less lyrical, but more factual, commentary from June Swanson’s I Pledge Allegiance (1990). (Picture book. 6-8)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
10.25(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.13(d)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

Meet the Author

Michael Sampson says, "I have a deep love for this country and the Pledge - I get goose bumps every time I recite it. This book makes the Pledge come alive for kids with language they can understand." Dr. Sampson is the author of many books for children, as well as books about literacy for adults.

Chris Raschka is the illustrator of many books, including the concrete poetry anthology A POKE IN THE I, edited by Paul B. Janeczko, a NEW YORK TIMES Best Illustrated Children’s Book; and the Caldecott Honor Book YO! YES? Chris Raschka says, "My parents have always respectfully refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance - my father for religious reasons and my mother because she was born in Vienna. And that’s why I was drawn to this project. In America, we each have the freedom to choose, including the freedom to choose whether or not to say the Pledge."

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3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book explains the Pledge of Allegiance in terms everyone can understand from young children to the familis of children who are new to this country. They can all learn what the Pledge of Allegiance means together!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book takes a close look at the Pledge of Allegiance, word by word, and provides readers with the meaning of the words used as well as some background information and historical context. That support is helpful in understanding this pledge of loyalty, which is often confusing to young children (e.g. ¿I led a pigeon to the flag¿¿). The difficulty here, though, is that the text is broken into such small pieces (on one page, ¿of¿ appears) that it becomes disjointed and loses context. The illustrations of ink and torn paper are crude and do little to add insight to the text. This book is an example of a good concept not well executed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This new book by Martin and Sampson is a simply stated book with interpretations as to the meanings of the "important" words in the pledge we recite almost without thinking. It brings a new understanding of the pledge to younger readers and for those of us that know it is not "I pledge all giants" it can increase one's respect for the pledge. The illustrations by Raschka are also simple, yet can prompt conversation, though they do not overpower the message. This is a book to educate and to be enjoyed by the young and old.