America the Beautiful by Katharine Lee Bates

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Synopsis

One hundred years ago Katharine Lee Bates was inspired to write "America the Beautiful"; Neil Waldman's travels throughout this country the past twenty years have inspired him now to illustrate her poem. In sweeping panoramas, Neil takes us from coast to coast -- from Niagara Falls to Napa Valley's fruited plains; from the Oregon coast to the majestic mountains of the Great Smokies and the Grand Tetons. He shows us man-made wonders, such as the portraits on Mount Rushmore and the ancient dwellings of Mesa Verde, and natural ones, like Rainbow Bridge and the Grand Canyon. This beautiful book will give young readers a sense of the varied beauty of our country, and older readers -- a new appreciation of its glories.
 

About Katharine Lee Bates

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In His Own Words..."I always knew that drawing and painting provided a magical pathway to the secret inner world of my imagination. When chaos, pain, and confusion enveloped me as a child, I would retreat to my bedroom, close the door, and sit down with crayons and a sketch pad. As I watched amazing shapes and colors pour from my crayons onto the blank sheets of paper, I could feel the fear and tension dissolve. And while I continued working at my desk, the outside world would disappear completely as I traveled along the exquisite, winding road inward."It is no coincidence that I chose to become a children's book illustrator. As an adult I realized that I had to earn a living, but I was also determined to spend my days doing what I loved most. Illustration has allowed me to achieve both goals. And so for me it is a magical profession. Sometimes in the early morning hours, as I float between the waking world and the world of sleep, I revel in the thrilling realization that I'm doing exactly what I loved most in kindergarten, and being paid for it."For me each new picture book is an adventure. During the weeks and months that I work on a story its mysteries rest in the world just behind my eyes, waiting to be revealed. Every time my mind grows quiet, I drift silently into that world. I live within the story, inhaling its fragrance, thrilling in its dance, and swaying with its rhythms. I place the manuscript on my night table and read it in the evenings before I fall asleep. Sometimes images begin swirling in my dreams. At other times they come to me when I least expect them. Once I envisioned a whole book during a terrible migraine headache."When the images begin to clarify, I start sketching in pencil. And when the people and places in the sketches match those in my imagination, I bring out my paints. Then my greatest fun begins, when the colors of my heart flow through my brush and appear magically before me. Sometimes the paintings take a month to complete. At other times they take more than a year. When all the paintings are finished, I spread them out on my living room floor and marvel at them."There are difficulties in living the life I've chosen. Sometimes I struggle for weeks or months, desperately searching for the soul of a story that continues to elude me. At other times I worry about the erratic work schedule and unsteady income. But the countless joys and thrills that tumble about me like autumn leaves make it clear that there is no other profession on earth that I would choose.
 
Published August 31, 1993 by Atheneum. 32 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Travel, Children's Books, Literature & Fiction, History, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for America the Beautiful

Kirkus Reviews

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Schuett's illustrations, with their slightly exaggerated forms and saturated colors, capture not only the ""fruited plains"" and ""alabaster cities"" but vistas of Bates's hometown of Falmouth, and intimate scenes of her cozy bedside table and the parlor where she welcomed guests.

Jun 01 1998 | Read Full Review of America the Beautiful

Kirkus Reviews

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this is paired with a quote from Thomas Jefferson: “I believe…that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another.” An interior spread (“with brotherhood”) by LeUyen Pham repeats the cover, picturing kids wearing red-and-white striped outfits representing the flag’s stripes and kids in ...

Dec 15 2012 | Read Full Review of America the Beautiful

Kirkus Reviews

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Gall, an actual descendant of Bates, illustrates the four verses of this country’s other national anthem with bold, clean-lined, heroic American scenes, from a sturdy rural couple contemplating their “amber waves,” to firefighters raising a flag over the ruins at Ground Zero.

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The New York Times

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And since few grown-ups (myself included) know any but the first verse, it's nice to learn that even in 1895 there were admonitions to ''mend thine every flaw'' and to ''confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in law.'' Ted Chapin, the president of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organizati...

Nov 14 2004 | Read Full Review of America the Beautiful

The New York Times

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(For a better setting of ''beautiful,'' think of the opening song of ''Oklahoma!,'' which also begins with the word ''oh.'' That melody swings up and down with equal weight until it lands on the first syllable of the word ''morning'' -- and on a ''blue'' or unexpected note, no less -- emphasizing...

Nov 14 2004 | Read Full Review of America the Beautiful

Publishers Weekly

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"Minor creates a breathtaking visual journey to some of the country's diverse landscapes and monuments, explored in Bates's famous 1895 poem," said PW .

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Publishers Weekly

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Bring Back the Deer ) writes that his own travels west instilled in him an awe of ``beauty beyond the realm of imagination.'' Using Bates's verse as his text, Waldman paints scene after scene, matching every phrase to a specific locale (these are identified in a well-designed key at the end).

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Publishers Weekly

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Pairing Katharine Lee Bates's famous 1895 poem with majestic watercolor panoramas, Wendell Minor creates a breathtaking visual journey to some of the country's diverse landscapes and monuments in America the Beautiful.

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Publishers Weekly

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In his first picture book, Gall offers an innovative interpretation of this classic paean to our blossoming country, penned in 1893 by his great-great-great-aunt.

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Common Sense Media

This illustrated version gives not only all four verses, but also strong images of American life that will help make sense of the song.

Apr 17 2004 | Read Full Review of America the Beautiful

Reader Rating for America the Beautiful
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