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America the Beautiful [Hardcover]

Katharine Bates , Wendell Minor
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 13 2003

Wendell Minor is an extraordinarily talented fine artist who has received more than two hundred awards for his work. Authors refer to him as a "quiet genius" who creates with simplicity and elegance, a "master" at capturing the essence of the written word in vivid imagery, of creating brilliant paintings that evoke the true spirit of story and place. He has illustrated hundreds of covers for many of the most popular books of the past few decades.

Now, inspired by Katharine Lee Bates's classic verse, Minor gives readers his first picture book-beautiful visual accompaniment for an American standard. Traversing the entire nation, from the Empire State Building to the Grand Tetons, from the Alaskan coast to the Florida Everglades; encompassing multiple eras, from Pilgrims to wagon trains, from the Wright brothers to NASA, Minor takes us on a journey across land and time-literally from sea to shining sea.

 


Product Details


Product Description

From Amazon

Skilled watercolor and gouache artist Wendell Minor sets the lyrics to one of America's favorite songs to pictures in this lovingly patriotic tribute.

It's hard to imagine a better primer on the history or meaning behind "America the Beautiful" than this--Minor's elegant, evocative illustrations back up each line of Katharine Lee Bates' breathless prose, and an informative introduction by Minor and bios on both Bates and composer Samuel Augustus Ward provide ample background on the song's journey to cultural cult status. Surely, this is a "heartland"-centric homage, but that's no doubt the nature of the song. The images display an older, idealized America, one of absent teepees and endangered buffalos ("For purple mountain majesties/Above the fruited plain!") and white girls in covered wagons ("A thoroughfare for freedom beat/Across the wilderness"). But Minor also alludes to future hope, with a climbing space shuttle ("O beautiful for patriot dream") and the fallen WTC commemorated in lights ("Thine alabaster cities gleam/Undimmed by human tears!").

Minor proved his artistic chops in the likes of Shane and a John James Audubon biography, and those skills get put to doting use here, in a primer appropriate for young patriots everywhere. (Ages 4 to 8) --Paul Hughes

From Booklist

K-Gr. 3. Using the four verses of "America the Beautiful" as a text, this picture book celebrates the beauty and variety of the American landscape in a series of majestic scenes. Each borderless, double-page spread illustrates a phrase or stanza from the song with a watercolor-and-gouache painting. Just as they represent different places in the country, the paintings also portray different moments in time. Buffaloes graze as smoke rises from a nearby teepee; the Wright brothers' flyer skims above the sand; and two towers bathed in bluish-white light rise above the New York skyline. Minor's richly colored, well-composed paintings reflect the song's grace, dignity, and idealism, but just as impressive is his care in selecting locales that fit the song's phrases. The closing pages offer short biographies of lyricist Bates and composer Samuel Ward, the song's words and music, and an illustrated guide to each spread. A series of landscape paintings (sometimes with figures, but no real characters) may not sound like an inviting approach to a children's picture book, but these paintings are varied and accessible enough to hold a primary-grade audience, especially when the text is sung. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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For purple mountain majesties Above the fruited plain! Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Hardcover
Wendell Minor has been busy this year, having illustrated picture books documenting 2 American heroes, which were published only a few months apart. INTO THE WOODS and RACHEL tell the stories of patriots, John James Audubon and Rachel Carson, respectively, who struggled to preserve the beauty and health of their native land. Now Mr. Minor has produced another picture book of equal radiance, focusing on the country that those heroes, and he, obviously love. The author is, like Audubon and Carson, another American legend, Katharine Lee Bates. Although her name is not familiar to many people, the poem she wrote certainly is. Here the entire song--not just the first few lines that most Americans have memorized--is emblazoned above Mr. Minor's spectacular paintings. Were she alive today, Ms. Bates would surely find this book comparable to the beauty of the country she wrote about in the first place. AMERICA depicts not only the "purple mountains" and "amber waves of grain" of the first stanza, but breathtaking landscapes from every corner of the nation. The monumental natural landmarks--enormous cliffs of the West, Niagara Falls, the Grand Tetons--are shown as well as quieter, but equally striking, scenes of farmers harvesting wheat in Iowa and steamboats pushing across the mist-shrouded Mississippi River. Even the light beams in Manhattan where the World Trade Center once stood are captured forever in an elegant painting. AMERICA allows readers to visit the most far-flung and spectacular areas of the nation in only 5 minutes, so realistic and compelling are the illustrations. And seeing Bates's poem in its entirety will rekindle readers' feelings for our musical heritage, no matter how many patriotic tunes they've heard since 9/11. This book is a dignified and vibrant testimony to the greatness of this nation, worthy of being shared with all kinds of patriots, young and old, for years and years.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great depiction of the song! April 26 2004
Format:Hardcover
This book is an excellent depiction of the song. We have been reading it with our daughter since she was 2 years old, and now she is quite familiar with the words of the song as well as with many areas of the country, major landmarks, and significant events. This is a great addition to your library.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  27 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for kids! March 5 2002
By A. Y. Smittle - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I wanted to just "read" the book to the kids. But gosh, I started singing it. And did they love it. I sang and flipped pages as fast as I could. Over and over. I teach preschool and this was America week. This was pretty much the only book about America their "level." It has beautiful "impressionistic" painitings of all sorts of beautiful and significant places in America that you can talk about. And if you are proud and interested, the kids will be too. We sit on a map rug so the kids are getting familiar with all our landmarks. But this book helps learn the song and gets them familiar with our nation. The last page has a picture of the Statue of Liberty in the harbor, "from sea to shining sea." I felt so good to read this to the kids. Please get this to make not only children feel good about where they come from, but also you as well!
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MAGNIFICENT WORKS OF ART by BATES' NEPHEW.... April 22 2004
By K. A. Stevenson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I had pre-ordered several copies of "America the Beautiful," by well-known illustrator, Chris Gall in January 2004. Simply put, Chris Gall is one of my favorite artists of all time. His style is bold, campy, and original.
Today, I received the books and I was AMAZED.
The book, "America the Beautiful" is BEAUTIFUL. What is even more beautiful is that Chris Gall shares in the preface how a framed copy of Katharine Lee Bates' verse, written in her own hand, inspired him so much as an artist as he was growing up.

Gall bestows a MAGNIFICENT tribute to his great-aunt's stirring song. Each line of Bates' meaningful verse is paired with a beautiful illustration by Gall. These works of art depict a nation blessed with God-given gifts; a nation built on justice, optimism, hope, and a shared love of America's land.
After viewing this book, which is pristinely made with thick paper and rich colors, I intend to buy several more as gifts. There are wonderful images of the Statue of Liberty, Pike's Peak, immigrants, the Apollo II, and my very favorites - the firemen of Sept. 11th, and the WWII Tuskegee Airmen.
Because "America the Beautiful" is not just a book which is great for artists or children or to grace the coffee table (although that is where MINE is going!), it is a work of art - which magnificently stirs the patriot within us all...
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chris's beautiful perspective Sept. 28 2005
By Robin Benson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The odd thing about this book is why it took so long to come out. Chris Gall is an illustrator and the great-great-grandnephew of Katherine Lee Bates so I wonder why he had not created these pictures ages ago.

The sixteen stunning pictures were engraved on clay-coated board which makes them very graphic rather than watercolor soft and I enjoyed the little design touches here and there, for instance a picture of some Shoshone Indians in a boat passing a very streamline looking waterfall or a small town snow scene with the buildings placed at different angles to each other.

The choice of image is also refreshing, to illustrate 'A thoroughfare for freedom beat. Across the wilderness!' has a family with their Airstream parked in the open landscape or 'Thine alabaster cities gleam, Undimmed by human tears!' showing a window cleaner eating his lunch and sitting on one of those Art Deco eagles on the Chrysler Building. This kind of originality and warmth comes across from each picture.

The book is well produced and it occurs to me that these illustrations are so good and all the same size that they are worth framing, depending on one's favorites.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificently illustrated version of American anthem July 12 2003
By Isabel Harding - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Wendell Minor has been busy this year, having illustrated picture books documenting 2 American heroes, which were published only a few months apart. INTO THE WOODS and RACHEL tell the stories of patriots, John James Audubon and Rachel Carson, respectively, who struggled to preserve the beauty and health of their native land. Now Mr. Minor has produced another picture book of equal radiance, focusing on the country that those heroes, and he, obviously love. The author is, like Audubon and Carson, another American legend, Katharine Lee Bates. Although her name is not familiar to many people, the poem she wrote certainly is. Here the entire song--not just the first few lines that most Americans have memorized--is emblazoned above Mr. Minor's spectacular paintings. Were she alive today, Ms. Bates would surely find this book comparable to the beauty of the country she wrote about in the first place. AMERICA depicts not only the "purple mountains" and "amber waves of grain" of the first stanza, but breathtaking landscapes from every corner of the nation. The monumental natural landmarks--enormous cliffs of the West, Niagara Falls, the Grand Tetons--are shown as well as quieter, but equally striking, scenes of farmers harvesting wheat in Iowa and steamboats pushing across the mist-shrouded Mississippi River. Even the light beams in Manhattan where the World Trade Center once stood are captured forever in an elegant painting. AMERICA allows readers to visit the most far-flung and spectacular areas of the nation in only 5 minutes, so realistic and compelling are the illustrations. And seeing Bates's poem in its entirety will rekindle readers' feelings for our musical heritage, no matter how many patriotic tunes they've heard since 9/11. This book is a dignified and vibrant testimony to the greatness of this nation, worthy of being shared with all kinds of patriots, young and old, for years and years.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great depiction of the song! April 26 2004
By Kathy Livingston - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent depiction of the song. We have been reading it with our daughter since she was 2 years old, and now she is quite familiar with the words of the song as well as with many areas of the country, major landmarks, and significant events. This is a great addition to your library.
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