My Fourth of July by Jerry Spinelli; illustrated by Larry Day

My Fourth of JulyMy Fourth of July by Jerry Spinelli; illustrated by Larry Day. 2019. Pencil, pen, and ink with watercolor and gouache. Published by Holiday House.

Brief summary: A young boy wakes up by the Fourth of July parade going by his house and runs out in his pajamas to join it. He comes back home and goes into the kitchen to see his father and mother getting ready for the picnic. They load up their red wagon and go down the street to the park to join other neighbors. There are activities all day that he enjoys every Independence Day. The night comes and the boy and his dog fall asleep in the wagon awaking later to fireworks. Everyone heads home walking up the streets to their houses.

Comments: Love this book! Both author and illustrator perfectly capture the celebration of the fourth with the traditional activities, the excitement, and all the neighbors coming together to celebrate this special day.  There is a dominance of red, white, and blue colors that help set the mood of the book. Positive vibe. My favorite part was the two page layout of the town’s people sleepily returning home at the end of the fun-filled day.

Although the description on Amazon says this is a nostalgic book of the holiday, I found that not to be necessarily true. With the exception of the train, my town celebrates the 4th just like this.  I felt that this book represents so many small towns in America on July 4th.

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller

The Quickest Kid in Clarksville by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Frank Morrison. 2016. Watercolor.

Brief summary: Alta is a fast runner despite the many holes in her shoes who worships Wilma Rudolph and can’t wait to see her idol in a parade through the streets of Clarksville, Tennesse. Charmaine, a new girl with new tennis shoes, figures out a way all four girls could carry the large banner by mimicking the Olympic relay and “can do” attitude with teamwork.  They are thrilled to see the fastest woman in the world who won the summer Olympic Games in Rome, Italy.

Comments: The author’s notes in back include a photo of Wilma Rudolph. This story is an inspiration to those who are reaching a goal and need grit. The athlete had polio as a child and kept pushing herself until she became the fastest.

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