America from all sides
For those who want to make this summer's family road trip a little less grueling, tag along with the fact-filled Farley family in Go, Go America. This appealing picture book family guides young readers through all 50 states, highlighting their wild customs and strange histories. Inspired by his own family's road trips from his childhood, award-winning author and veteran illustrator Dan Yaccarino combines each of his hundreds of trip tidbits with bold and entertaining illustrations, from a fire-hydrant-eating horse to one very large boll weevil statue. The guide combinescultural history and local flair, introducing facts from bizarre festivals and strange tidbits from state law books. Did you know, for example, that it is illegal to tickle a girl in Norton, Virginia, or tie a giraffe to a telephone pole in Atlanta, Georgia? Whether it's the Middle-of-Nowhere celebration in Nebraska, the world's largest frying pan in Delaware, or the Great American Bathtub Race in Alaska, Go, Go America captures the best and the strangest of the U.S.A. in all its glory.
For the birds
For a glimpse of America from a bird's-eye view, Hudson Talbott's United Tweets of America presents 50 state birds who have a little to say about each other and a lot to say about the states where they nest. Meet a Louisiana pelican with a taste for jambalaya, a Minnesota Loon who confuses lakes with mall parking lots and a New York bluebird with his sights set on Broadway. The parade of bird pageantry also includes a number of mammals, reptiles and humorous mythical creatures, from a bucking jackelope to the terrifying Mothman who roams West Virginia. Though many states share the same bird, no two are alike in Talbott's eyes. The American Robin may march to a fife and drum in the Constitution State, but he is behind the wheel in Motor City. Talbott's collection of amusing illustrations also introduces the peculiarities of bird fashion, from cheeseheads in Wisconsin to bird boots in Utah. This guidebook captures the charm of American birds and the flair of American talent in a unique tour through the states, which erupts into one big bird brawl for top tweet but ends in one sweet song from the trees.
Pop artist Michael Albert demonstrates how learning more about America can be as simple as opening the pantry in An Artist's America, a collection of pop artworks which incorporate cereal boxes, candy wrappers and other icons from American consumerism. Aptly named Cerealism, Albert's work began with mosaics of familiar cereal box covers, from Kellogg's Frosted Flakes to Cheerios and Trix. In this collection, he expands on that style, incorporating faces of consumerism like Cap'n Crunch and Colonel Sanders into patriotic collages of the "Gettysburg Address," the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore. In "The Signing of the Declaration of Independence," Albert explains, he chose "fifty-six characters from our modern consumer world to represent the fifty-six statesmen" who signed America's founding document. The resulting collage, which features Mr. Clean, Sugar Bear and Fred Flintstone, would certainly give John Hancock a shock. Albert's swirling mosaic recreations offer an entirely unique portrait of America, and their intricate designs and pop culture references will appeal to adults as well as children. Instructions on how to make collages are included, and Albert's style should prove easy to mimic for young artists who have a cereal box, glue and the right imagination. With this book as a guide, young readers will never look at Tony the Tiger in quite the same way again.