Thursday, December 31, 2009

Wow! America - Robert Neubecker

Hyperion Books, 2006
44 pages - 2 fold open
For: Ages 4 up
Endpapers: Huge colorful outline map of the US.

At first I didn't think that Ella would be too interested in this book. However, she was fascinated with the huge, colorful U.S. map. She liked to learn where she lived, and was able to point to Pennsylvania after going to other states. She realized that Arizona, where Nan lives, is very far away. She now knows where Maine is (she visits her cousins there), and Florida, where Disney World is located. She kept flipping back to the map to "remind" me of the locales of these places!

The book is presented in huge double-page spreads (and in two cases, TRIPLE page spreads!) We begin in New England. "New England is famous for fishing and ships and Patriots and Pilgrims." The scene we see is a wharf beside the sea, with a yellow-clad fisherman holding up a huge (reddish-orange) lobster. Okay, so it's already been cooked..... There are sea gulls and lobster traps, whales and fish. We travel from New England to New York Harbor and turn the book around so that we can see the Statue of Liberty standing tall on the two pages. Then Niagara Falls. When we arrive in Washington, we have to turn the page around and around, because the buildings are rising from each of the edges. Back to horizontal for the southeastern seashore, then vertical again for Cape Canaveral. We continue to turn the book through the midwest and west, arriving in Hawaii before we end in Alaska.

Turning this large book around and around was a little disconcerting, but Ella appeared to love it. She looked at the pictures and listened to the simple explanations. (The two three-page spreads were the Robert E Lee floating down the Mississippi and the Grand Canyon.) Every illustration had so many different things to find, it became a game of "can you find....."

There were saguaro cactuses at the Grand Canyon. One of my little peeves - the Sonoran desert ends far below the Grand Canyon, though they're definitely found in southern Arizona. Oh well, I'll let it go.

We both enjoyed this book.

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