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George Did It


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About the Author

Suzanne Tripp Jurmain lives in Los Angeles, California. Larry Day lives in Chicago, Illinois.


Gr 2-5-Complemented by witty cartoon drawings, a lively text explains why Americans wanted George Washington to be their first president and how reluctant the successful general felt about accepting the position. While the man is portrayed in a positive historical light, the book also shows his human side and his nervous, embarrassed, and anxious feelings. Surrounded by humorous caricatures of other founding fathers, Washington relates his reactions to the whirlwind activities of the eight days leading to his inauguration depicted through facial expressions and emotional actions. Color conveys a sense of patriotism and excitement for the new nation. Several pictures include a cleverly placed red fox that mimics the actions and responds to the events of the patriot's life. Although many books on Washington are available for this audience, few focus on a particular segment of his life while also providing bibliographical information. Based in part on recollections by George Washington Parke Custis, Washington's adopted son, this is a factual, focused, and entertaining account of the making of the nation's first president.-Julie R. Ranelli, Episcopal Center for Children, Washington, DC Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

From the opening lines, Jurmain's (Freedom's Sons) lighthearted, anecdotal look at the war-weary general's reluctant agreement to run for election takes on a snappy tone: "In 1789, almost everyone in the country wanted George Washington to be the first president of the United States of America. Everyone-except George." The narrative flashes back to prior jobs Americans had asked the honest, dependable man to do-which he did-including leading the Colonial army to victory and helping to write the Constitution. But, the author explains (smoothly incorporating Washington's own words), "Nothing in his whole life... filled him with `greater anxiety' than the thought of being president." Pressured by friends and strangers, he acquiesced, yet after his election admitted, "he felt like a criminal who was `going to... his execution.' " Jurmain shares entertaining details of the subsequent weeks: Washington had to borrow money from a Virginia neighbor to fund his trip to New York for the inauguration; the inaugural ceremony was delayed because members of Congress forgot to bring a Bible; and the nervous president "quivered all over like a six-foot custard" while making his speech. Readers will likely find this candid revelation of Washington's apprehension and self-doubt both endearing and inspiring. Day's (Who Was Annie Oakley?) occasionally grainy, animated art captures the text's cheerfulness and helps to put an appealing, human face on this larger-than-life leader. Ages 5-up. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

"While [Washington] is portrayed in a positive historical light, the book also shows his human side....[T]his is a factual, focused, and entertaining account of the making of the nation's first president."-School Library Journal, starred review

"Brightened with watercolor washes...this thoroughly engaging book has a great deal to offer young students of American history." -Booklist, starred review

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