Douglas Wood has created a very idealistic look at America and Americans. What is presented is what we were told this country is about: freedom, differences, agreeing to disagree. There is not even “oh sometimes we disagree so much we decide to kill each other like in the news shows us.” It does mention that we are human and sometimes we make mistakes. It speaks of the Fourth of July, the Bill of Rights and other things that does make America unique. It does show what we want to be.
The illustrations of Elizabeth Sayles save the day. They are wonderfully detailed and while colorful, not over powering. They have neat little “side images” showing you some of the people, places and subjects discussed. Unfortunately, most of these images are popular people or palaces; the ones we always see (Dr. King; Amelia Earhart; Sonia Sotomayor) Americans is a patriotic book with idealism at its core. I would not say it is Conservative but does have a “What A Great Country We Live In” vibe.
Is this a bad book? No. There is a lot of good things going on. Maybe if we start teaching again the core values, maybe they will come back. Or maybe we can start living by them. Yet, the tone of this book just turned me off. Maybe I was tired, but I felt like I needed my pom-poms and start yelling, “Rah! Rah! America is our gal! If she can’t do it, nobody can, pal.”