Thursday, February 05, 2015

Dear Mr. Washington by Lynn Cullen


I love, love, love books that bring history to life. Lest you think George Washington took a somber stance while his portrait was being painted by Gilbert Stuart. . . think again. Stuart had a dozen children. In this picture book, Charlotte, James and Baby John try to be very, very good as their father paints the well-mannered Prez. Who could keep a straight face with the three children, along with Kitty and Dash the Dog, cavorting about? Author Lynn Cullen creates a hilarious narrative via letters from young Charlotte Stuart to Mr. Washington in 1796. Charlotte tries to abide by the Rules of Behavior for Boys and Girls, a book she received from Mr. Washington after his visit to the Stuart home.

What delightful illustrations! Nancy Carpenter keeps the story lively with loosely drawn pictures full of plenty of facial expressions and movement. The text is reminiscent of old typeset letters, with capitals for emphasis.
The audience for Dear Mr. Washington is children kindergarten through fourth grade, but grown-ups reading along will also enjoy the story.

If you like Dear Mr. Washington, you might like What To Do About Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy! It's a picture book about Alice Roosevelt and well, the title speaks for itself. Then, there's the remark by her father, Theodore Roosevelt, from the text of the book . . .
"I can be President of the United States, or I can control Alice. I cannot possibly DO BOTH."
Yikes!

Want more information on presidents of the United States? Check out The Founding Fathers!: Those Horse-Ridin', Fiddle-Playin', Book-Readin', Gun-Totin' Gentlemen Who Started America,
a picture book filled with caricatures (including the one below of George Washington) by New Yorker illustrator Barry Blitt. Inside you will find fun facts for young audiences. Librarians at the Pittsburgh Public Library and the Jefferson Library contributed to the research. Yay for librarians!
 

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