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Reviewed in the United States on December 29, 2003
The title of "Red, White, Blue, and Uncle Who?: The Stories behind Some of America's Patriotic Symbols" certainly tells you what to expect to find in this book written by Teresa Bateman with illustrations by John O'Brien. The question then is what specific national symbols are included: the Flag, the Eagle, the Great Seal, the Liberty Bell, "The Star-Spangled Banner," Uncle Sam, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, the White House, the Capitol, the National Mall, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial (I am not sure why that one came last since it was not the last one chronologically speaking). The stories include not only the origins of each symbol, such as the argument over what should be the national bird (Ben Franklin wanted the wild turkey), but the history of the various symbols and buildings (the Philadelphia City Council wanted to haul away the Liberty Bell as scrap metal). Consequently, Bateman and O'Brien get beyond the standard information to provide some more interesting details (who walks through each of the entrances on the four sides of the White House). Young students should find this book quite informative, depending on how much they know about these various symbols (the struggle to get the Washington Monument built covered a lot of new ground for me) and O'Briens drawings represent a nice balance between reverence and humor. "Red, White, Blue, and Uncle Who?" is not the final word on America's patriotic symbols, but it is a solid introduction to most of the important ones.
In trying to teach a new generation of patriotic citizen Red, White, Blue, and Uncle Who? The Stories Behind Some of America's Patriotic Symbols By Teresa Bateman and illustrated by John O'Brien is the perfect children's book. Here you will learn of the American Flag. The many designs that were considered. The White House, the people's house, how it was once burned. How there are four entrances at the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue home. The south door is for high government officials and foreign diplomats. The North entrance is for state visitors, family, and friends. The West door is used by the President and his staff and the East door is used by the public. How our national bird could have been a wild Turkey, champion by Benjamin Franklin. The finally chose the bald eagle because it was native to North America. Red, White, Blue, and Uncle Who? By Teresa Bateman is a fun book for all ages to revisit stories of America.