A short, occasionally revealing profile of an immigrant who got the job done.
Joining other children’s-book creators attempting to ride the Broadway phenomenon’s coattails, Adler creates a distant, even staid, portrait of Hamilton’s character. Opening and closing with accounts of the Burr duel, he also drops in a few too many names without sufficient context. Still, along with noting his subject’s major public achievements in war and peace and making some references to his private life, he does frankly note in the main narrative that Alexander was born to unmarried parents and in the afterword that he was taken in for a time by a family that may have included a half brother. (The author also makes a revealing if carelessly phrased observation that he helped to run a business in his youth that dealt in “many things,” including “enslaved people.”) Collins’ neatly limned painted scenes lack much sense of movement, but he’s careful with details of historical dress and setting. Most of his figures are light skinned, but there are people of color in early dockside views, in a rank of charging American soldiers, and also (possibly) in a closing parade of mourners. Multichapter biographies abound, but as a first introduction, this entry in Adler’s long-running series won’t bring younger readers to their feet but does fill in around the edges of Don Brown’s Aaron and Alexander: The Most Famous Duel in American History (2015).
Serviceable as assignment fodder or as a gateway to more searching studies. (timeline, bibliography, notes) (Picture book/biography. 7-9)