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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Review: Discover America: From Sea to Shining Sea by Katharine Lee Bates, Julie Olson

Discover America: From Sea to Shining Sea, Illustrated by Julie Olson, Lyrics by Katharine Lee Bates, YR -Picture Book, 2014, Hardcover, 32p, My Rating=4
Source: provided by publicist in exchange for an honest review

Follow the patriotic journey of a little red balloon as it makes its way from the West Coast to the East Coast of the United States. Accompanied by the words of one of Americas most beloved anthems America the Beautiful, From Sea to Shining Sea shows the diversity and beauty of our great country through the eyes of our nations children. To add an interactive experience, kids all across the United States will be able to go online to send their own balloons on their own journey

The title tells it all. This book is an invitation to discover America, from sea to shining sea. So when you open the book, you will find illustrations of a few of its beautiful landmarks. The showcasing of America was told through a balloon’s fictional journey from California to New York. The text was directly taken from the first verse of “America the Beautiful”, a beloved national anthem. Those familiar with this song/poem will then be set on a patriotic note. If you love America, then you will likely love this book. Those who are not familiar with America, well then this charmingly illustrated depiction of some of the picturesque tourist spots will likely lure you to love America and thus love this book. Genius! A toddler’s version of a tourist map.

This picture book takes you another step. You are also invited to discover America through the book’s website. There you will find many activities such as fun facts about each state, take quizzes, print out color pages, watch videos, and even launch your own virtual balloon and track its voyage. Pretty cool but doesn’t suit me at the moment. I’m content with just the book. But I’m glad it’s there should I desire to venture further.

No doubt that Ms Olson is a talented illustrator. The beautiful artwork in this book complimented the text well. In fact, I think it’s one of the most gorgeous illustrations I’ve seen in a picture book. It was bright, vivid, and lively.  However, I didn't feel that the book as a whole was original in concept.

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