Parents' Guide to

The Founding Fathers!: Those Horse-Ridin', Fiddle-Playin', Book-Readin', Gun-Totin' Gentlemen Who Started America

By Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

History this lively should be required reading in school.

Book Jonah Winter History 2015
The Founding Fathers!: Those Horse-Ridin', Fiddle-Playin', Book-Readin', Gun-Totin' Gentlemen Who Started America Poster Image

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This is a highly entertaining information fest written in lively, conversational, slang-dotted prose that makes for both fun and provocative reading. (A great example would be Alexander Hamilton's "Stance on France: Not a fan.") The details of their lives are charming and quirky and will surprise readers who imagine the founders as a solid block of devout, practicing Christians (many were not) who had only the highest ideals and were above reproach. These profiles make clear that these were exceptionally intelligent visionaries but also were flawed men and sometimes hypocritical thinkers who squabbled over taxes, central government vs. states' rights, foreign wars, religion, and slavery as they hammered out our representative democracy.

Barry Britt's ink-and-watercolor illustrations add humor in each emblematic full-page caricature -- Alexander Hamilton, known for fighting for a constitution (some folks were against having one), is pictured wearing boxing gloves as he holds quill and paper, with steam coming out of his ears; John Adams, known to sob a lot, is shown with a box of tissues, dabbing a tear from his eye -- as does spot art accompanying the list of stats, portraying, for example, Ben Franklin, who lived in France for many years, wearing a beret and carrying a baguette. This book would be wonderful for reading alone or in school and will delight kids well beyond the usual picture-book age.

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