There is nothing duller than a cemetery when you are a young kid. Even if it is a very important one in Washington, DC. On the last day of their Washington, DC, vacation, Jack, and his family visit such a place. And Jack, is less than impressed. That is until he finds himself watching a solider who is guarding a tomb. She takes 21 steps. Pauses 21 seconds and repeats. She ignores the sweat dripping off her faces and does not stop to sip water. She does not notice the people quietly watching, some with hats in hands, others with tears in their eyes. She will do this until she is replaced by another solider who will do this.
Jack is at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider. After feeling the importance of that special monument and moment, when he is back in the airport, he sees a solider, walks up to him and quietly says, “thank you,” to him. Whereas the unknown solider says, “You are welcomed.”
The Unknown Soldier by Jess M. Brallier is a poetic look at the symbolism of the monument in DC that is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. An afterwards by the author explains what the significance of this monument is. The story is a nice way of introducing the Tomb.
The illustrations of Jamie Peterson continue the poetic tone to the story. They bring a lightness (physically with the soft colors, lines, and details) to the serious text. The story is not depressing but has a hopefulness to the somberness. Overall, this is a sweet book that is a great introduction to a piece of history and a part of our capital.
All ages could listen to it but does work for the older child who will sit and listen to a story. It could work as high as a first or second grade class, but the picture book format my turn off older readers.