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BIG GEORGE by Anne Rockwell


How a Shy Boy Became President Washington

by Anne Rockwell & illustrated by Matt Phelan

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-15-216583-3
Publisher: Harcourt

Large in stature and shy of disposition, George Washington demonstrated a remarkable spirit from his early youth. This account focuses on Washington’s upbringing, his Mount Vernon farming and his war experiences before his presidency, concluding with his election. Washington’s hardships are convincingly portrayed as he grieves the devastating loss of his half brother in his youth. “For the rest of his life, George never spoke of that heartbreaking time.” Washington’s military leadership, demonstrated through Braddock’s Defeat, Valley Forge and Yorktown, is effectively depicted. Repeatedly comparing Washington’s life to the Roman leader Cincinnatus, his boyhood hero, Rockwell describes Washington’s personal sacrifice for his fellow soldiers. The thin, swirling lines of Phelan’s soft pencil-and-gouache illustrations enhance the stirring narrative, often depicting people against their natural environment; his powerful use of shadow and light emphasizes Washington’s struggles and victories. Overall, a dynamic examination of one of America’s first leaders. (author’s note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-10)