American Independence Day is coming up! Here's a picture book to help your littles celebrate, and learn what it means to be an American. If you use the affiliate links in this article, you're helping to keep Busy Nest News running. Thanks for your continued support!
Apple Pie 4th of July, by Janet S. Wong and Margaret Chodos-Irvine
Here at Busy Nest News, we cannot get enough of holiday books. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas all get the literary treatment in our homes. It will surprise no one, then, to learn that Independence Day, July 4th, gets the same treatment. We’ve dug up some fun books to review, and to introduce our littles to the customs associated with Fourth of July celebrations.
The first book I checked out is Apple Pie 4th of July, by Janet S. Wong and illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine. It follows a Chinese American girl on Independence Day. She watches the parade go past her home, and can’t understand why her parents are in their restaurant all day, preparing Chinese food. The little girl tries to convince her mom and dad that Americans don’t want Chinese food on the 4th of July. At first, it seems as though she is right; people trickle into the shop throughout the day for only small things, like ice, chips, and matches. But by dinner time, there’s a line out the door! Their fellow Americans think Chinese food will hit the spot as they prepare to watch fireworks. At last, the whole family watch the show from the roof of their building, and their upstairs neighbor shares her apple pie with them.
Wong’s story of a little girl learning that there’s no single “right” way to be an American is very sweet. I loved Caldecott Honor winner Margaret Chodos-Irvine’s illustrations. They’re bright, festive, and simple. I did feel like the narration left a little to be desired, though. It was a bit too simple. Some children’s books make the mistake of putting way too many words on each page, which bogs down the story and gives kids more details than they require. This book makes the opposite mistake. I think I used more words to summarize it than are actually in the book. I don’t like when books hit kids over the head with their message, but this one could have pressed the issue of what it means to be American a little more without being in danger of proclaiming the obvious. In short, it’s a cute story, but it just fell a little flat in the execution. I give Apple Pie 4th of July three eggs.
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Ariel and Brianna are friends who met while working in a library. Now they collaborate to develop life-enhancing book club experiences.
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