How to Bake an American Pie, written by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Raul Colon, Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2007. (Preschool/Early Elementary)
How to Bake an American Pie was written to be a Fourth of July book. I didn't have this book on the Fourth of July. I do, however, own it in time for Veterans' Day, which still feels quite relevant.
The text in How to Bake an American Pie is a lovely poem about ideally what it is to be an American and what forms America. Karma Wilson, author of the charming "Bear" books, is equally charming here and surprisingly poignant. As an adult, it reminds me of what is best about my country and countrymen. After a fractious election season, I savored every heart-warming word. For a child, the book gives ideals that are attainable, if not always present.
As much as I love Jane Chapman as the illustrator for the "Bear" books, I think Raul Colon was a perfect choice to illustrate this sweet and powerful poem-story. In addition to his illustrations also being sweet and powerful, they are wonderfully whimsical in a way that actually enhance the poignancy of this book.
So I will read this book to my young son for Veteran's Day, and later for the Fourth of July, and many, many days in between.