My Fourth of July

Holiday House. May 2019. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823442881. Fourth of July.
PreS-Gr 2–A young boy describes an annual Fourth of July celebration he enjoys with his family and neighbors at a nearby park. After the pajama-clad youngster briefly joins a parade passing his house, he sets about doing the chores he’s in charge of, like putting finishing touches on picnic fare and loading the food into a wagon as his dog looks on. Then the family is off, first to the station to greet the flag-festooned train and then to the park. There they enjoy chocolate-covered strawberries, cherry pie, and other goodies along with hot dogs fresh off the grill. The fun-filled day includes face painting, races, interaction with zoo animals, a concert, talent show, and dancing, and culminates in spectacular fireworks over the ball field. Created with pencil, pen, and ink with watercolor and gouache, the large illustrations depict a friendly, multi-ethnic community. Flags abound, not only on the train, but also in people’s hands, on houses, and on the grandstand. Three brilliantly colored double spreads show fireworks so wonderful the boy’s “heart is cheering” as he “scream[s] with joy.” Finally, the red wagon bearing the sleeping child and his dog appears across another spread followed by a scene in which the two are snuggled together in bed.
VERDICT Though the steam-powered train at the station evokes a bygone era, this is an excellent read-aloud choice for current Fourth of July revelers and for all holiday collections.–Marianne Saccardi, Children’s Literature Consultant, Cambridge, MA

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