Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review: Betsy Ross

Betsy Ross by Becky White
Illustrated by Megan Lloyd

This book is so cool! It is the story of the creation of the first flag of the United States of America as made by Betsy Ross. It follows how she cuts the red for the flag, then the white. Then she cuts out the white stars and dyes the blue square. Then she sews it altogether! It is a very simple story, but very nicely written.

It is written as a poem and each page only has up to five words maximum on it. The first half of each stanza is on one double page spread and then the second half is on the next double page spread. Many of the lines fit together well because they rhyme. I really like how the author used simple language that young children could understand.
Betsy ripped.
Rip, rip. (p. 1)
Seven rich,
Crimson strips. (p. 3)
Another thing that makes this book even more awesome than I'm making it sound, are the illustrations by Megan Lloyd! They're not painted, drawn, or anything like that. The illustrations are pieces of fabric sewn onto cloth!! It's amazing and it looks SO COOL! I don't know if it's too hard to see the individual pieces on the picture to the right, but it is just so cool how she made the pictures. In the Illustrator's Note in the back of the book, it says that she hand-stitched the pieces of fabric onto a cotton background. She also says that when something was just cut out by Betsy, like the stars before they got sewn onto the flag, she used a special iron-on material that fuses fabric together because they're not supposed to look like they've been sewn yet. I really am just blown away by how amazing this book looks.

As this is a historical, nonfiction book, the author included an Author's Note that discusses how legend has it that Betsy Ross make the first American flag. In the note, the author tells how George Washington's original drawing had stars with six points, but Betsy Ross said she thought five point stars would look nicer. She showed Washington a simple way to make these stars with one snip. The last page in the book is titled "Make Your Own Betsy Ross Star" and it provides the instructions to easily make your own perfect five point star with one cut! This would be a great activity to include when reading this book with children. The instructions are basically the same as they are on US History's website. The video below also shows how to do it, it's pretty sweet.

Here are some websites with cool ideas for 4th of July activities that incorporate this book:
Jump Into A Book
Lesson Pathways


  1. Kristine--

    It had been a while since we had the chance to check out your blog!! You are still doing a great job!!

    The Fry Boys

  2. Thank you! I tried keeping it alive this semester, but it went slowly downhill! Hopefully over break I'll read more! :)