Monday, January 22, 2007

Tour America: A Journey Through Poems and Art

Siebert, Diane. 2006. TOUR AMERICA: A JOURNEY THROUGH POEMS AND ART. Ill. by Stephen T. Johnson. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN0811850560 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-7]

Siebert’s impressionistic poetry charges along through this tour of interesting places, some well-known and some nearly unknown, across America, and Johnson’s artwork, in many different styles and media, keeps pace beautifully. A box of text about each place extends the learning possibilities, and a simple map outline of the country, the state, and the place anchors each piece geographically. Except for a recurring motif of partial postal cancellations, each page is simply laid out, with the artwork juxtaposed with the poem, text, and map on a white background. Without a table of contents or index, navigation is a little more difficult than it should be, but the “journey” progresses roughly east to west across the northern part of the country, and then back again through the southern states. The book includes author’s note, artist’s note, map with labels and thumbnail illustrations, and a list of art and mediums.

Children may enjoy writing and illustrating a poem about their favorite landmarks or cities.

Divide the US map into sections. Have children work in groups with each searching a section of the map to find as many interesting, funny, or weird place names possible, marking each with a dot or pin. How many can the group find?

Other poetry books by Diane Siebert:
Siebert, Diane. TRAIN SONG. ISBN 0064433404
Siebert, Diane. SIERRA. ISBN 0064434419
Siebert, Diane. HEARTLAND. ISBN 0064432874

Other books about American geography and landmarks:
Sis, Peter. THE TRAIN OF STATES. ISBN 0060578386
Sabuda, Robert. AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL. ISBN 0689847440

By Julie Brinker

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