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Betsy Ross's Star (Blast to the Past) Paperback – May 22, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
Book 8 of 8 in the Blast to the Past Series

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Paperback, May 22, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Stacia Deutsch is the author of more than fifty children’s books, including the eight-book, award-winning chapter book series Blast to the Past. She has also written the tween novel Mean Ghouls as well as books for the Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew and The Boxcar Children series. Stacia has been on the New York Times bestseller list for the novelizations of the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and The Smurfs movies. For new releases and school visit information visit StaciaDeutsch.com.

Rhody Cohon does all the research and editing for the Blast to the Past series. She has a master’s degree in computer engineering. Rhody lives with her family in Tuscon, Arizona.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Betsy Ross’s Star



Something funky was going on. Sure, to anyone else sitting in our third-grade social studies class, things seemed normal. But I could tell. They weren’t normal at all.

Mr. C was sitting on the edge of his desk, like usual.

His hair was messy. His suit a disaster. His bow tie sideways. All normal.

He’d been five minutes late to class, just like he was every Monday.

So what was the problem? It was the question he asked to start the period.

It was more like a nonquestion. It was a statement, really. He said, “Share something you know about Elizabeth Claypoole.” At our blank stares, he cleared his throat and said, “You know her by the name Betsy Ross.”

Most people wouldn’t think there is anything wrong with a teacher telling his class to share. But anyone who knows Mr. C and is really curious, like me, would be immediately suspicious. Mr. Caruthers always, and I mean always, starts class on Monday with a “what-if” question. Like, “What if Betsy Ross quit and never sewed the first American flag?”

I love Mr. C’s “what-if” questions. His questions are the best part of social studies. Today Mr. C didn’t ask “what-if” anything. That’s how I knew something freaky was going on.

I sit at a table with my three best friends, Jacob, Zack, and the new kid in school, Bo. Bo’s real name is Roberto, but no one ever calls him that.

I leaned over toward Zack, who was sitting right next to me. “What’s wrong with Mr. C?” I asked, nodding my head slightly toward our teacher.

“What are you talking about?” Zack whispered back. “What do you mean something’s wrong? What could be wrong? Are we in danger?”

I slapped myself on the forehead. I should have known better. Zack is a worrywart. He gets stressed out about everything. “What’s the matter with Mr. C?” He was going on and on. “Is he sick? Hurt? Do you think I should get the principal?”

Oh, man.

The thing is, when Zack’s not worrying, he’s very funny. He tells jokes and acts silly. Even his clothes can make me laugh. Today he was wearing a T-shirt, inside out and backward, with a pair of jeans. I’m sure he got dressed in a hurry, and knowing Zack, he probably figured he’d simply pretend it was backward day instead of turning his shirt around.

“Abigail,” Zack whispered back to me. His voice sounded shaky and nervous. “What makes you think Mr. C has a problem?”

I decided not to stress him out further. “It’s just that . . .” I stalled. “Mr. C is so messy today.”

Zack’s face relaxed and he grinned. “It’s Monday,” he reminded me. “Mr. C is always messy on Mondays because we have History Club after school.” Then Zack winked at me.

“Oh, yeah,” I replied as if I was just remembering. “I almost forgot.”

Of course, the truth was I could never forget it was Monday or that we have History Club on Mondays. Like I already told you, History Club is my favorite thing on earth. And even though I pretended not to remember, I knew exactly why Mr. C was five minutes late and messy today.

I knew because of all the kids in our social studies class, Jacob, Bo, Zack, and I were specially chosen as Mr. C’s secret helpers.

On Mondays, Mr. C makes the time-travel cartridge for our History Club adventure. He never gives himself enough time to make the cartridge and get to class on time, too. There is also a huge explosion that screws up Mr. C’s clothes and hair. It happens when he puts the lid on the cartridge. Even though we’ve asked, Mr. C won’t tell us why he doesn’t just make the cartridge on Sundays. He’d have plenty of time. And he’d definitely be neater.

I turned to Bo. Certainly he’d know why Mr. C hadn’t asked us a “what-if” question. Bo knows everything about everything. He likes to read and remembers all the facts he’s ever read. Today Bo was wearing baggy pants and a T-shirt that said READING IS TO THE MIND WHAT EXERCISE IS TO THE BODY. Underneath it said that the quote was by some guy named Joseph Addison.

Bo was sitting tall in his chair, listening to the other kids in class share what they knew about Betsy Ross.

Matthew Abrams raised his hand and said he’d once read that George Washington came to Betsy Ross’s sewing shop in Philadelphia. Apparently George Washington hired her to make the flag for the new, independent American country.

Matthew hadn’t even finished speaking when I swear I heard Bo mutter, “That’s just a myth. Historians don’t even know for sure if George Washington was in Philadelphia at the time.” He said that so quietly, I wondered if I might have misunderstood his mumbling.

I took a long, careful look at Bo. He’s usually quiet and shy, but I’d never heard him mutter and mumble in class before.

Cindy Cho stopped biting her nails long enough to say she knew that Betsy Ross had created the American flag’s stars and stripes design.

Right after she said it, I definitely heard Bo mutter, “That’s not a fact. No one knows for sure if she designed it or not.”

After each kid in class told Mr. C what they knew about Betsy Ross, Bo would mutter about how it “wasn’t a fact” or “wasn’t proven,” or “was just another myth.”

It was the weirdest day in social studies ever.

“Jacob,” I whispered across the table, “have Mr. C and Bo both lost it?”

Jacob didn’t answer. He was doodling something on a piece of white paper. I looked down. It was a picture of our time-travel computer. Jacob loves computers. He’s president of the school computer club. When we go on adventures, he is always in charge of using the computer to send us back in time and to bring us home again.

I considered kicking him in the leg to get his attention, but Jacob was wearing new-looking blue pants and clean white tennies. I was wearing shorts with these awesome cowboy boots that used to belong to my teenage sister, CeCe. I decided not to dirty his clothes or shoes by kicking him with CeCe’s old boots.

I was going to have to ask Mr. C what was going on. I raised my hand, but Mr. C had already moved on. Oddly, though, Bo hadn’t stopped muttering “myth, myth, myth” under his breath.

I put one hand over my right ear to block out Bo’s grumbling and kept my left hand raised high in the air. After a while my hand got tired. Unless Mr. C grew eyes on the back of his head, he wouldn’t call on me. He was busy writing out a time line on the blackboard.

The time line said “Philadelphia” across the top, but didn’t list any actual events. It looked like this:

June 1776 May 1777 May 25, 1780 March 1870 Month unknown, 1925

Figuring I’d ask about the “what-if” question later, I lowered my hand and studied the blackboard instead.

When he was finished writing, Mr. C turned around to face our class. “Who can tell me the main reason Betsy Ross is so famous?”

He called on Shanika Washington. She said, “Betsy Ross is famous because she sewed the first American flag.” Just as Shanika finished saying the g in “flag,” Bo’s head exploded. No, not literally, but close.

“NOOOOO!” he cried out. In all the time I’ve known him, I’ve never heard Bo speak that loudly before. “IT’S A MYTH!” Bo roared. “There is NO proof that Betsy Ross ever sewed the first flag!” --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Series: Blast to the Past (Book 8)
  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin (May 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416933883
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416933885
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,679,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
What do you really know about the Stars and Stripes?

(Eighth in Blast to the Past series)

Abigail loves history, thanks to her creative teacher, Mr. Caruthers (otherwise known as Mr. C.) He always starts class with a question: "What if..." But this time, Mr. C. didn't start with a question. He calmly stated that they'll be learning about Betsy Ross. Abigail is confused. What is wrong with Mr. C? The class is even more confused when another student bursts out that Betsy Ross is just a myth. Did Betsy Ross design the flag or not?

After school, the History Club meets in Mr. Caruthers' class. And they travel back in time to check out the truth. Betsy Ross's grandson is due to give a speech proving that his grandmother designed the first flag. But Babs Magee is up to her old tricks and plans to take credit for sewing the flag! Can Abigail and her friends stop her in time, and find out the truth about the flag?

Betsy Ross's Star is the first book I've read in the Blast to the Past series, even though it is the eighth book. It easily stands alone, but I was a bit confused by some references at first. The story is an easy-to-read beginning chapter book for young readers. It was fun to read a bit of history, and I especially appreciated that the authors took the time to tell the truth about the parts they fictionalized, and give the real story. This makes Betsy Ross's Star invaluable for homeschool history class, or even public school students who want to learn a little more about history. There are pictures of the first flags included at the end of the book too. There is also a link to check out the Blast to the Past website.

If you've read the earlier books in this series you will definitely not want to miss Betsy Ross's Star.
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Format: Paperback
Title: Blast to the Past #8 Betsy Ross's Star
Authors: Stacia Deutsch and Rhody Cohon
Illustrator: Guy Francis
Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks
ISBN: 978-1-4169-3388-5

"Even if it is a myth, Betsy Ross and the story of the flag is still an important part of American history," Bo reiterates in Blast to the Past #8 Betsy Ross's Star, a children's book written by Stacia Deutsch and Rhody Cohon.

With one hundred and twenty-one pages, this paperback book is targeted toward ages seven to ten years old, has no profanity and no questionable or scary scenes. Illustrator Guy Francis depicts an early American seamstress sewing a flag with four children around her on the front cover. The back cover has two paragraphs about the book along with a drawing of Betsy Ross and mentions the seven prior books in the series. Inside there are ten black and white drawings along with two flag designs by Betsy Ross and Francis Hopkinson. Also included at the end of the book is an explanation by the authors of fact verses fiction about the creation of the American flag.

The main object of this series is to ask young children what if a person in the past did not create, state, make or invent something that changed our lives today but quit instead. This book hones in on the tradition that Betsy Ross designed and sewed our country's first flag.

The eighth book in this children's time-travel series, Abigail's shy but smart friend Bo is adamant that it is a myth Betsy Ross designed the American flag based on hearsay and no documentation.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book! This book was used to complete a school project on Betsy Ross. My daughter read the book and used it as a reference to create a project. It is filled with great information.
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