An American ABC by Maud and Miska Petersham, a 1942 Caldecott Honor Book, uses the alphabet to tell children the stories of many American heroes, icons, and places. This book was written at a time when Americans were truly proud of what our nation stands for in the world. Given recent unrest and uprisings stemming from hatred for the United States, I was proud to share these stories with my children. I would suggest reading this book in several sittings with younger children – while my kids enjoyed An American ABC, they did get squirmy by the end.
1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.” – This book is full of beautiful, old-fashioned illustation with creative use of reds, blues, and whites.
2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – I could easily decipher the topic of each page from the picture alone.
3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.” – Although the illustrations are somewhat old-fashioned, they fit the overall tone of the book. I loved the use of patriotic colors on each of the pages.
4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – Each page has a different specific idea that is well portrayed in the illustrations, but even better, the overall theme of this book is made clear on every page.
5. “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – I appreciated using this book to help make these American images more familiar to my children.