From Publishers Weekly
The Second Lady teams up with Glasser (the You Can't Take a Balloon series) to create this well-intentioned ("I wrote this book because I want my grandchildren to understand how blessed we are," writes Cheney in her introduction) if rather listless alphabet book celebrating the United States and its history. Rendered in ink, watercolor washes and colored pencil, Glasser's detailed, bustling art features multiple images on each spread and inventive borders containing pictures and brief factoids, yet the spreads have a slightly washed-out quality. The alphabetical entries include renowned individuals (Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln), milestones in this country's history (The Constitution, The Declaration of Independence) and generic terms (heroes, ideals, oath, patriotism, suffrage, valor). As the alphabet winds down, Cheney strikes a sentimental note, drawing readers into her narrative with her assertion that "Y is for You and all you will be in this greatest of countries, the land of the free." Glasser then provides simulated snapshots of children with captions denoting their career aspirations (e.g., "future art critic" and "test pilot of tomorrow"). Although many of the anecdotes and quotations from presidents and other patriots appear in a tiny type face, children will likely pore over the pages to glean the interesting tidbits offered. Cheney's concluding notes provide details about some of the individuals or events mentioned on the prior pages. A competent though less than compelling tribute. All ages.
Gr. 2-4. Cheney, wife of the vice president, states that her purpose in writing this book is to inspire in her grandchildren a love and appreciation of America and its ideals--and by extension to imbue this esteem in the rest of America's children. As the subtitle suggests, the book's organization is alphabetical: "G is for God, in whom we trust. H is for Heroes and I for Ideals. J is for Jefferson. K is for King. L is for Lincoln. M is for Madison. N is for Native Americans, who came here first." Typically, each entry appears on a single page, accompanied by several quotations and/or facts, which are illustrated with a number of attractive ink, watercolor, and colored-pencil pictures. Several pages of appended notes offer background information on topics raised. Glasser's upbeat illustrations feature a multicultural cast of children and adults portraying and celebrating aspects of American history. An inviting choice, especially for parents and grandparents looking for a patriotic book to share with children. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
From School Library Journal
Grade 2-5-In this alphabetically arranged "Patriotic Primer," sample entries include "H is for Heroes and I for Ideals. Heroes remind us of our nation's ideals and how important it is to live up to them." Portrayed among the heroes, along with firefighters, teachers, and astronauts, are "elected leaders," which sounds uncomfortably self-serving coming from the wife of the vice president. For a country founded on the notion of the separation of church and state, God seems to pop up at every turn, even serving for the letter G: "for God in whom we trust." "P is for the Patriotism that fills our hearts with pride." Each letter is given at least a full page of captioned, informative drawings in ink, watercolor washes, and colored pencils. Quotes and facts frequently frame the oversized pages. "Notes on the Text" provides additional information. However, the final quote by Ronald Reagan and the large feel-good jacket photo of the author and a suitable rainbow array of children reinforce the feeling that this is a none-too-subtle paid political advertisement.
Dona Ratterree, New York City Public Schools
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Lynne Cheney has loved American history since she was a child and hopes to help today's children love it too. "America's story is a compelling one," she says, "and it helps us understand how fortunate we are to live in freedom." Mrs. Cheney, who has a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, is a widely published author. She co-authored one of her books, a history of the U.S. House of Representatives, with her husband, Vice President Dick Cheney. A former chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Mrs. Cheney is currently a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
The Vice President and Mrs. Cheney have two daughters and three granddaughters. Mrs. Cheney is pictured above with children whose relatives are navy personnel assigned to the U.S. Naval Observatory, the Vice President's residence in Washington, D.C. Mrs. Cheney is donating her net proceeds from this book to the American Red Cross and to projects that foster appreciation of American history.