Anno's USA

by Anno, Mitsumasa. (Paperstar, 1998 ISBN 069811678X. Paperback.) Picture Book. 32 pages. Grades 3+.
This book was reviewed by Carol Otis Hurst in Teaching K-8 Magazine.


Cover Art

Anno's vision of the United States has the time periods jumbled, but everything's here from Superman to Peter Minuit. We see a lone traveler approaching the west coast in his tiny boat. As he rides on horseback across the country, he and the careful reader see representations of events in our history and in our culture. When he gets to New York, for instance, we see Sesame Street characters in a parade down the streets of the city but in a smaller vignette we see Minuit buying the land from the Indians. The challenge comes in discovering them all as the rider does.

The author has said that, as a child growing up in wartime Japan, he heard a great deal about the United States. When he finally visited here, he expected to see everything: primitive Native Americans, comic book heroes, Pilgrims and Madison Avenue -- all at once. His book shows this point of view.

The book is wordless and, at first exposure to it, most children will not be intrigued with it. They need to view it as a series of puzzles or hidden pictures. The last pages of the book list all the items and events that a careful reader could find. Cover those pages but put a few items that you can find in the pictures on a sheet of paper near the book and invite readers to find and list others.


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