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The Great Little Madison (Unforgetable Americans) Paperback – February 23, 1998


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Series: Unforgetable Americans
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; Reprint edition (February 23, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0698116216
  • ISBN-13: 978-0698116214
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #40,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fritz ( Shh! We're Writing the Constitution! ) here presents a brisk, highly accessible biography of James Madison. Sickly as a child, Madison was a short, frail man with a wispy, small voice. His successes in incorporating personal freedoms into a reasonably strong centralized government and his enormous appetite for work earned him the sobriquet "great." Madison's shyness and difficulty with public speaking were drawbacks during the politician's early days in Virginia government--as was the enmity of a powerful Patrick Henry--but behind-the-scenes speaking effectiveness and voluminous, well-reasoned writings more than compensated. In her characteristic way of bringing history to life, Fritz writes in a highly engaging, entertaining manner, providing vivid descriptions of Madison's close friendship with Thomas Jefferson; his long and apparently happy marriage to Dolly; the infighting during the creation of the Constitution; the patience with which our fourth president dealt with an unreasonable England, leading to the war of 1812--and that war's defeats and victories. Ages 10-up.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Jean Fritz, the Newbery Honor-winning author of Homesick, is best known for her engaging and enlightening nonfiction for young readers, including What's the Big Idea, Ben Franklin?, And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?, and Shh! We're Writing the Constitution. She was honored with the Knickerbocker Award for Juvenile Literature by the New York State Library Association, and won the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for her career contribution to American children's literature.


More About the Author

"The question I am most often asked," Jean Fritz says, "is how do I find my ideas? The answer is: I don't. Ideas find me. A character in history will suddenly step right out of the past and demand a book. Generally people don't bother to speak to me unless there's a good chance that I'll take them on." Throughout almost four decades of writing about history, Jean Fritz has taken on plenty of people, starting with George Washington in The Cabin Faced West (1958). Since then, her refreshingly informal historical biographies for children have been widely acclaimed as "unconventional," "good-humored," "witty," "irrepressible," and "extraordinary."In her role as biographer, Jean Fritz attempts to uncover the adventures and personalities behind each character she researches. "Once my character and I have reached an understanding," she explains, "then I begin the detective work--reading old books, old letters, old newspapers, and visiting the places where my subject lived. Often I turn up surprises and of course I pass these on." It is her penchant for making distant historical figures seem real that brings the characters to life and makes the biographies entertaining, informative, and filled with natural child appeal.An original and lively thinker, as well as an inspiration to children and adults, Jean Fritz is undeniably a master of her craft. She was awarded the Regina Medal by the Catholic Library Association, presented with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award by the American Library Association for her "substantial and lasting contribution to children's literature," and honored with the Knickerbocker Award for Juvenile Literature, which was presented by the New York State Library Association for her body of work.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
Yes, this is officially a "kids' book" (Ages 9 -14, I believe). However, I, an adult, read it and found it educating and very interesting. I got this book during a visit to James Madison's estate Montpelier. I thought I'd read it first, before getting into the more massive (and more intellectual) biography by Dr. Ketcham. If you're new to James Madison, I'd recommend doing that.
In any case, Jean Fritz' book is an excellent choice for adults as well as children.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Terry Nightingale on November 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
Jean Fritz has written a great book for both kids and adults, full of interesting facts about the man, his life, his wives (Dolly was his second), and his remarkable presidency. Throughout the book, the reader gets a real sense for how James Madison thought and felt about political issues, and how he overcame the challenges of being small in stature and small of voice to be one of our great presidents. Definitely worth a read to better understand this great man who lived in extraordinary times.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mary K. on February 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
This has become our favorite read-aloud no pictures story with my toddler. She gets the benefit of hearing spoken language about a subject she likes, and I get to learn something new every time we read it.
I would reccomend this book for older primary, even lower-level High School students. The story is enlightening, and inspiring for all Americans, young and old.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lunette Slarma on December 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
As a fifth grader years ago, I was assigned to write a book report about an American president, so I chose James Madison. However, we could not locate any biographies about his life aside from this one and a much longer, thicker book which was intended for an adult audience and could not be completed in the time limit I had been given. So we picked this one.

Perhaps for someone interested in learning about James Madison's life, this would be a good book. However, it is flooded with intricate, unnecessary, and meticulous details and useless information. For a child with difficulties sorting out the important sections of the book from the unimportant ones, this was an awful choice. Examples of unneeded information included Mr. Madison's former love interest who later broke his heart before marrying Dolley Madison and the whole story behind that, and the nickname that her spoiled son had been given as a result of his brattiness (it is "Precious Payne," by the way, since he was named Payne), and much, much more. I know for a fact that other reviewers have commented on this same issue. My mother actually had to sit down and help me sort out the important details from the unnecessary ones to incorporate into my book report. I am certain that there are better biographies detailing the life of James Madison available for children, and am sure that you will find some if you look hard enough. But if you're only considering buying this just because you need book report information, like me, this really is not good for you unless you want to learn every miniscule detail involved in this man's life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Terry Wright on January 9, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read The Great Little Madison on my new Kindle-White Paper and enjoyed it very much. I found it to be a little on the light side and I finished it with regret that it seemed so quick. Then I discovered it was a Juvenile edition, yet I did enjoy the book greatly. Well written with a great sense of being there and participating in history. I'll be reading more Jean Fritz books in the future.
Terry Wright
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Bennett Whipple on February 28, 2013
Format: Paperback
I am pleased that this octogenarian adult "discovered" Jean Fritz and her book, The Greatest Little Madison. It is a well-written quick read about this President who fought off the British one more time and saved our Republic. At my age I don't need these long-written, professorial tomes. Just give me the facts, ma'am.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fritz3rd on June 1, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is probably great for a junior high assignment. It provides an overview (very high level) of the life of James Madison. Much of the comment is innuendo and author guess work (it seems to me). Not what I was expecting after reading "A. Lincoln".
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