Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride (Regnery Kids, 2012) is the second book in the Ellis the Elephant series written by Callista Gingrich and illustrated by Susan Arciero. Told in rhyme, this children’s picture book takes Ellis on a journey through history. He visits the 13 original colonies as now represented on the American Flag by the 13 stripes.
His journey begins in Virginia, the site of the first permanent settlement at Jamestown. Then Ellis travels to Massachusetts, meeting the pilgrims on the Mayflower and learning that they established the first democratic roots in the New World. He learns that Roman Catholics came to the New World, settling in Maryland, and that the Dutch originally settled in New York. Ellis discovers cranberries, that were used for food and dye, grew in New Jersey. The colony of Connecticut was known for dairy farming. In New Hampshire Ellis learns that each village had a school. In Rhode Island Roger Williams established freedom of religion and treated the Native Americans as neighbors.
Traveling to Delaware, Ellis learns that Swedish people settled there and created a border with Maryland known as the Mason Dixon line. In North Carolina he learns that pirates pillaged the seas off their coast. He discovers that the trading of rice and indigo allowed the colony of South Carolina to grow its economy. Visiting Georgia, Ellis sees that those who needed a second chance were welcomed. The last colony on his tour, Pennsylvania, was home to William Penn. It was als0 home to Benjamin Franklin who would become a great patriot.
Ellis also journeys to the capital of the United States, Washington, D.C. He notices the flag on the Capitol has fifty stars unlike the first one he saw. Ellis learns the origins of the United States.
Land of the Pilgrims’ Pride is a great opportunity for younger readers, aged 5 to 8 years old, to learn some basic history of the United States and the origins of our country. The things that parents should teach their children from this book are what each stripe and star represents. I would encourage parents to tell their children what number their state is, and learn some interesting facts about it. The back of the book has resources and places to visit in each of the states mentioned to learn more history.
Kristina O’Brien is a mother of twin girls, an avid reader and a credentialed teacher. She has taught both middle school and high school history. She is currently a stay-at-home mom and enjoys raising her two girls.