George Washington’s Birthday: A Mostly True Tale

What It Is

This newly released historical fiction is about young George Washington, who is celebrating his seventh birthday. Naturally, young George is excited about his birthday, but it seems that his family has forgotten all about it. The day only gets worse. When he makes a mistake in his daily math lesson, his older half brother Augustine declares, “You’ll never amount to anything.” George replies with an ironic, “Someday I’ll be the boss of you.” And later, while helping his father prune some cherry trees, he completely chops one down in frustration. (Sound familiar?) After giving up on the possibility of any birthday celebration, George busies himself for the remainder of the day and forgets about dinner. But, he’s pleasantly surprised to enter the family dining room to a huge birthday feast! Of course, no one in history has “forgotten” George Washington’s birthday again.

Why It’s Fun

This twist on history is a fun and different way to commemorate George Washington’s birthday with the kids. It’s interesting to imagine world leaders as children, especially those who were such a pivotal part of our history. The book sprinkles facts about young George throughout, and dispels such myths as the chopping down of the cherry tree. Margaret McNamara cleverly weaves humorous hints of history throughout the fictional story, such as George’s task of carrying the piles of wood across an icy creek (née the Delaware River).

Who’s Going To Love It

This book is a good February pick from the library for kids who have some familiarity with George Washington. (Of course, it’s also a good opportunity to introduce a key part of history to kids.) Though kids in the publisher’s recommended age range will enjoy the story, it’s likely that only adults will understand the double entendre.

Reading Time

About 4 minutes

Read-It-Again Points

6 out of 10

Book Information

GEORGE WASHINGTON’S BIRTHDAY: A MOSTLY TRUE TALE
Written by: Margaret McNamara; Illustrated by Barry Blitt
Published by: Schwartz & Wade Books (2012)
Approximate retail price: $17.99
Publisher’s recommended ages: 4-8

Comments

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