GRAND PAPA AND ELLEN AROON by F.M. Monjo

GRAND PAPA AND ELLEN AROON

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

So I don't see why the Feds call Grand Papa a Jacobin. He never had anybody's head chopped off, not in his whole life."" Ellen Aroon's plaintive defense of her Presidential Grand Papa recalls, though leas painfully, Tad Lincoln's ""How could anyone want to hurt my Pa?"" in Monjo's Me and Willie and Pa (KR, 1973). The utter partisan innocence of Thomas Jefferson's favorite granddaughter can in fact become a little wearing, but modern readers will be amused by the workings of a simpler White House (where ""Grand Papa never turns strangers away"" and Ellen's brother Jeff pours the wine at dinner parties) -- and they might even be secretly envious of a grandfather who inquires about the garden back home and takes the time to write such fondly didactic letters as the poem/puzzle/punctuation lesson that his correspondent is requested to solve and return. To round out the benign domestic portrait Monjo has Ellen (really Ellen Wayles Randolph) quote from some letters Grand Papa had written to her Aunt Polly years before, and a few of Jefferson's public activities (the ""announcement"" he sent to King George III, the letter he receives from Lewis and Clarke) are introduced as things that ""Mama says."" (Mama, whose duties include educating her six daughters while the boys go off to school, sets Ellen such tasks as calculating how much Grand Papa paid per square mile for the Louisiana purchase.) Thomas Jefferson at home can't be expected to inspire the freshness and sparkle of Poor Richard in France (KR, 1973), but this genteel and personable sketch has its quieter interest.

Pub Date: Nov. 14th, 1975
Page count: 58pp
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston