A valiant effort of the author to impart American history within a vocabulary range accessible to the youngest reader, and also to augment that reading vocabulary, fails to redeem these books from mediocrity. There seems to be little point to teaching children to read, if this technique introduces them to such clumsy prose as ""There was a boy named George Washington. He lived on a big farm with a lot of land..."" The conclusion underlying both these books is that simplicity is the counterpart of vapidity. This seems unfair to the young student, who, being initiated into reading and American history by this most pedestrian route, cannot, despite what reading ability may accrue here, come away with a very enthusiastic feeling toward both areas of study. Writing for children of this age is a challenge to the author's ingenuity and his own facility with the language. These two volumes, divested of feeling, eloquence, and imagination, manifest neither ingenuity nor skill.