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Revolutionary Friends: General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette Hardcover – April 1, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-5-The Marquis de Lafayette is famous for helping George Washington and the Continental Army defeat the British. The idea of exploring the development of his relationship with the American general in picture-book form is intriguing, but while this version is long on historical content, it is short on flair. The research is admirable. Direct quotations from Lafayette are featured on almost every page, and lists of sources and places to visit, as well as time lines of the men's lives, provide excellent historical background. However, these figures do not come to life. The author concentrates on Lafayette arriving in America, becoming part of Washington's army, and proving his mettle at the Battle of Brandywine. The large illustrations end when Washington visits the wounded Lafayette and instructs the doctor to care for him "as if he were my son," demonstrating the real affection that developed between them. However, the account goes on for three more pages, illustrated by much smaller images. The awkward transition complicates the book's ability to find an audience. Younger readers who are drawn to the picture-book format may lose interest in the text-heavy later part, while older students studying the Revolutionary War may find the book too simplistic for their needs. The pen-and-ink illustrations with digital coloring are appealing for the most part, but they have an odd flatness that detracts from their overall effect. Spreads that should have depth and a vanishing point seem more one-dimensional than two. French phrases incorporated into the text are defined at the end of the book, not in context, which may be cumbersome for some readers.-Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In 1777, the 19-year-old Marquis de Lafayette defied his king’s orders and left France to fight for freedom in America. Though initially expecting little, Washington found the young French nobleman idealistic, courageous, and eager to learn everything he could from the general he idolized. Congress had refused to give Lafayette a command, but he proved his mettle at the Battle of Brandywine, where he rallied retreating troops and suffered a leg wound. The doctor was told by Washington to treat him as he would his son, “for I love him with the same affection.” The picture-book story rather abruptly ends there, though the next three pages continue the vivid account of Washington and Lafayette’s “revolutionary friendship” in an information-packed narrative, followed by detailed time lines of their lives. In addition, there are suggestions of places to visit, a source bibliography, and a glossary translating the French words and phrases sprinkled through the text. Short passages from Lafayette’s letters and other writings appear in small, scroll-like boxes on some double-page spreads. Kozjan’s illustrations, lively ink drawings digitally enhanced with color and subtle shading, will engage readers, as they bring the period settings to life. This oversize, handsome package will introduce a little-known aspect of the Revolutionary War history through pithy words and often dramatic pictures. It respects its audience as well as the historically significant friendship it portrays. Grades 2-5. --Carolyn Phelan

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 620L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Calkins Creek (April 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159078880X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590788806
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 9 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #608,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Selene Castrovilla is an award-winning teen and children's author who believes that through all trends, humanity remains at the core of literature. William Shakespeare is her God; William Faulkner and JD Salinger are her archangels. Look for Melt, a brutal love story featuring The Wizard of Oz as a metaphorical backdrop, now available in hardcover, paperback and as an e-book. Selene is the author of Saved By the Music and The Girl Next Door, evocative teen novels. Her third children's book with Highlights Press, Revolutionary Friends, was a Booklist Top Ten Biography for Youth, 2013 (+starred review)in addition to other honors. Selene holds an MFA in creative writing from New School University and a BA in English from New York University. She lives on Long Island with her two sons and too many cats, where she sits on her deck in the summer, fall and spring (and at her picture window in the winter) and writes. She loves the color purple and coffee. She plays well with others, but with words even better. She is so grateful to do what she loves.

FORTHCOMING
Revolutionary Rogues: Benedict Arnold & John Andre. The companion book to the award-winning Revolutionary Friends!

School and library visits available. I will Skype for FREE :)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge on April 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The story of the reserved George Washington's initially reluctant friendship with the young French officer whose heart "enlisted" in the American struggle for independence from Britain, is told in a spare, sprightly narrative interspersed with French words and phrases (C'est le moment! Magnifique!). The storyline focuses narrowly on the year 1777 beginning with the events leading up to the first meeting of the two and ending (somewhat abruptly) with Washington's visit to Lafayette at the house where he was recovering from a wound suffered at the Battle of Brandywine. But the wider historical picture is there as well: Sidebar "scrolls" contain quotes from Lafayette's documents and the backmatter, a treasure trove for teachers, includes the continuation of their relationship until the death of Washington, timelines, places to visit, a bibliography, a glossary of French phrases used in the text, and reproductions of two portraits currently hanging in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives. The color-on-pen-and-ink illustrations, many of them sweeping two-page spreads, capture both the human warmth and the dramatic historical sweep of the story. This book is lively enough to be simply read aloud and sturdy enough to be used as the basis for a U.S. history unit.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Rea on October 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It was a beautiful little book to get a child interested in our nation's rich history. My granddaughter loved it! It is simple enough for younger children but in a short book with great illustrations, there is a lot to get the little wheels turning.
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By Culper, Jr. on July 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
First, a disclaimer--I assisted the author, in a very small way, by analyzing and critiquing some of the illustrations for this book. That being said, I can still give my honest opinion, that this is a beautifully done book. The illustrations are very attractive and the book itself contains a wealth of information for young readers. There are not enough lively, engaging works on history for this age group, so I am always thrilled to see another entry in the field.
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Format: Hardcover
I used to live in Washington D.C., and I'd pass Lafayette Square all the time. How did I never make the connection between the two?

Thank you, Ms. Castrovilla, for writing a fun and engaging children's book that sheds light on two of the most important statesmen of the 18th century, both of whom had profound effects on how our nation was built.
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Revolutionary Friends: General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette
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