Friday, November 14, 2014

PPBF: This Land Is Your Land

Today's Perfect Picture Book Friday pick

Book and Cd by Woody Guthrie and Kathy Jakobsen

This Land Is Your Land
Written by Woody Guthrie
Illustrated by Kathy Jakobsen
Little Brown, 1998
ages 4 and up

Music, Patriotism, Activism, Biography, Folk Art

As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway.

Produced to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Woody Guthrie's famous song, this picture book features the complete lyrics to "This Land Is Your Land", a CD with nine of Guthrie's songs for children, and select lyrics to more than a dozen additional songs.  The forward by his daughter, Nora, details the making of the book. The afterward by Pete Seeger chronicles the history of the song itself. Folk Artist Kathy Jakobsen includes people and places which played an important role in Woody Guthrie's life. The last spread is a tri-fold pull-out  with a two page biography of the singer / songwriter.

What I Love:
This book goes beyond the obvious images evoked by this famous folk song, delving into the history of both the country and the singer.  It provides a splendid opportunity to talk about the dust bowl, the activism of the 60s, the civil rights movement, folk art, patriotism, the Great Depression, community service, immigration, and much more.

I love how the publisher chose a modern folk artist to illustrate the lyrics, and how she brought so much depth to the book, making it a biography instead of solely a tribute. My favorite detail is the use of tramp art motifs on the page borders. And, hey . . . fold-outs and a CD? What's not to love!

Memories of the Veteran,
by Nick Quijano Torres
1. Visit the Woody Guthrie Archives, online or in person.
2. Folk Art Revealed offers terrific lesson plans for grades K - 12.
3. For more art exposure, visit the American Folk Art Museum in New York.
4. Lesson has some suggestions for children to compose their own music.
5. Bill Moyers examines the history of migrant workers in America on PBS.
6. Learn more about America's dust bowl from the History Channel online.
7. Find an overview of the Great Depression on Digital History's website.
8. Make a difference in your community. Volunteer at a local charity, or find your cause at VolunteerMatch.
9. The U. S. Department of Education has selected a list of books which will make children better citizens, including This Land Is Your Land.
10. I couldn't possibly list all the Perfect Picture Books which could be used as companions to this book. I've chosen a few about American geography, music, and folk artists. Check them out at your local library.

Have you reviewed a Perfect Picture Book along this theme? Please leave the link in the comments below. Thanks!

Reviewed by Joanna
Reviewed by Kirsten
Reviewed by Salaamu

book and CD about
musical composition
and the orchestra
Reviewed by Barbara

Reviewed by Julie

Reviewed by Erik

Reviewed by Clar

Check out all the recommended titles for Perfect Picture Book Friday
for November 14, 2014 available on Susanna Leonard Hill's blog.


  1. It sound alike a lot is packed into this PB. I think I may have visited that Maine Lighthouse on the cover. Great idea to include similar PPBF reviews!

    1. That's the Portland Head Lightstation in Maine. Good eye!

  2. Thank you for introducing me to this powerful book which is full of so many historical themes and the life of the singer -- many I remember well. The folk art illustrations are perfect! Such a great share today.

    1. I am so glad I picked this book up years ago on a whim. It makes a great teachers' resource as well as a fun read. Thanks for commenting.

  3. This would make a great gift for someone just moving here, or attaining their citizenship!

  4. A lot of great links in your "bonus" section. This book addresses a lot of topics and works on so many levels. Great pick!

    1. Thanks. As a kid I loved books like this. Every illustration was like digging for buried treasure.

  5. I've always loved this song. Didn't realise there was a book about it. Great choice and review. Thanks for sharing. (now I'm singing it in my head)

    1. Yep. Stuck in my head, too! Thanks for stopping by.

  6. I always enjoy your selections and like the bonus books too.

    1. Thank-you, Stacy. I have a few nf in mind which I hope to review before the end of the year.


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