Our Flag : A Little Golden Books Classic
And so, on June 14th, Flag Day, I chose to highlight a classic Little Golden Book called simply “Our Flag” by Carl Memling and illustrated by Stephen Cook, published in 1960.
Who among you has not heard of Little Golden Books?
They were, and are still, a series of delightful children’s books originally issued beginning in 1942 for the unbelievable price of 25 cents.
The Little Golden Books, with their price point, were usually within the reach of families at a time when children’s books could cost $2 or $3.
Not to be too political, but how far have we come as a nation since those days?
Our flag did not always look as it looks today.
As time marched on, it was decided, as more states joined, that the flag would always have 13 stripes for the 13 original colonies, but every time a new state joined, a star would be added.
For young readers, I think this is a wonderful introductory book as in the opening lines:
“Every country has it own flag.
When a ship at sea flies our flag the ship is saying,
“I come from America.”
When you carry our flag, you are saying, “I am an American.”
But our flag did not always look the way it looks today.”
It takes young readers on a historical journey from the thirteen colonies, ruled by the king of England through the Revolutionary War for Independence and the first flag, with thirteen red and white stripes and thirteen stars on a field of blue for the original colonies.
The originals in the first series of twelve were titles such as “The Poky Little Puppy, “The Three Little Kittens,” “The Little Red Hen,” ” Prayers for Children,” “Bedtime Stories,” “The Golden Book of Fairy Tales” and “Mother Goose,” to name but a sampling.
The book states it was fashioned by Betsy Ross, but is quick to state that no one really knows, although some believe she was its sewer.
George Washington proclaimed “It is a beautiful flag,” on seeing it.
The flag is carried in many battles and even as two more states joined the flag as it flew over Fort Henry, in the War of 1812, again against the British, it did not falter or go down which inspired our country’s song, “The Star Spangled Banner.”
The book takes the flag’s journey through the Civil War, World War II and the addition of two new stars for Alaska and Hawaii.
And the extraordinary illustrations in Little Golden Books were done by such artists and authors as Eloise Wilkins, Richard Scarry, Garth Williams, Margaret Wise Brown and Alice and Martin Provensen to name but a few.
We seem to be at a great divide – even when it comes to the American Flag.
The book enumerates and illustrates the rules surrounding the carrying or flying of the flag and the special times the flag must be saluted, such as when you see it being raised or lowered or when it passes in a parade.
The last page gives the words to The Pledge of Allegiance and states that a pledge is a promise.
May our flag always be worthy of that pledge.