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School Library Journal11/01/2014
Gr 4–8—Going beyond pat descriptions of symbols, this series digs to the roots of America's garden of emblems. For example, readers not only witness the evolution of the U.S. flag's design over the years, but learn, too, why flags matter in the first place. In addition, children discover that while the Pledge of Allegiance is a cornerstone of American symbolism, pledges to the flag are relatively rare in the rest of the world. Throughout each title, "Vital Figure" sidebars feature key persons. In some instances, the person is well known, such as George Washington. Other times, the subject is less famous but no less important in his or her realm of influence (Alan Freed, unscrupulous but passionate promoter of rock 'n' roll). The concise, engaging writing is aptly accented by symbols that alert readers to special vocabulary words, ideas for research projects, and sidebars brimming with supplemental insights. While not outstanding, the illustrations are colorful and appropriate. A wide-ranging, appealing, and useful series.