Going for funny in the Revolutionary War books I brought home last month made a big difference.
Six-year-old S’s favorite was Jean Fritz’s sparkling And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? The non-funny book — Buttons for General Washington — was deemed too intense by six-year-old S. Maybe it was the gun that was pulled on the young protagonist, which is always what you expect in a book billed as being for 4- to 8-year-olds.
And there was one substitution: This Time, Tempe Wick? (a great recommendation by Liz) was in, and Judith St. George’s book on the Declaration was out since we couldn’t get our hands on it until just a few days ago.
So, that was 1750-1800. For our next overlapping period of US history, 1775-1825, I’m reminded of the Mark Twain quote, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” I’ve put together a long list of books because I haven’t had much of a chance to prescreen them. Here’s hoping that we luck into a favorable ratio of funny to not funny.
We do have a few ringers, returning favorites from library visits past:
- How We Crossed the West: The Adventures of Lewis and Clark by Rosalyn Schanzer
- A Big Cheese for the White House: The True Tale of a Tremendous Cheddar by Candace Fleming and illustrated by S.D. Schindler.
- Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall and illustrated by Barbara Cooney
The remainder is a mix of nonfiction, fiction and folktale:
- Bewildered for Three Days: As to Why Daniel Boone Never Wore His Coonskin Cap by Andrew Glass
- Johnny Appleseed by Stephen Benet and Rosemary Benet and illustrated by S.D. Schindler
- Shhh! We’re Writing the Constitution by Jean Fritz and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
- Old Bet and the Start of the American Circus by Robert McClung
- The First Air Voyage in the United States: The Story of Jean-Pierre Blanchard by Alexandra Wallner
- Old Ironsides: Americans Build a Fighting Ship by David Weitzman
- The Floating House by Scott Russell Sanders and illustrated by Helen Cogancherry
- Nothing Here but Trees by Jean Van Leeuwen and illustrated by Phil Boatwright
I’ll go into more detail about the winners from this bunch in a few weeks. In the meantime, I’d like to send a big thank-you to the public library in Fairfax County, Virginia, which has a great list of titles that I drew heavily from this time around (and probably will in the future, too).
And as always, I’d love to hear your suggestions for titles we missed this time around.