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Worst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the True Story of an American Feud Hardcover – December 8, 2011


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 920L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (December 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525479031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525479031
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,114 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 2-4-Suzanne Tripp Jurmain makes early American history more accessible and our founding fathers more human for young students in her book (Dutton, 2011) about the friendship and feud between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. She profiles both the differences between these two men as well as the bond that grew between them as they worked together to forge a new nation. Problems arose over the question of balance of power: Adams believed that the president should be given more power, while Jefferson feared that a president who was too powerful might damage the new government. Their dispute was exacerbated when Adams was elected president, with Jefferson as his vice president, and their opposing political parties escalated the feud to the point of violence. When Jefferson defeated Adams for the presidency in the next election, it seemed that their friendship would be doomed. The book ends on a positive note, however, as the two did reconnect through a long string of correspondences, and they died on the same day. Richard Poe expressively reads this engaging, heartwarming tale with clarity and humor. By humanizing these two friends, rivals, and leaders, students will be better able to understand this segment of American history and the intricacies of our early government.-MaryAnn Karre, Horace Mann and Thomas Jefferson Elementary Schools, Binghamton, NYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Besides being an award-winning author, Suzanne Tripp Jurmain was a child and teen actor appearing in many television shows and soap operas. She is currently a freelance writer and editor and lives in Los Angeles, California.

Larry Day (www.day-here.com) is an award-winning illustrator. He also works as a storyboardist at a large advertising agency. He lives in Chicago, Illinois.

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Customer Reviews

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See all 10 customer reviews
It makes two great men seem human.
LizP
I also enjoyed the humorous elements that the illustrator chose to include.
Heidi Grange
I randomly picked up this book at the library and I'm so glad I did.
E. Kennen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By E. Kennen on December 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
John Adams was short, fat, and talkative. Thomas Jefferson was tall, thin, and quiet. Together, they made an excellent case for American Independence. But when Tom and John couldn't agree whether a weak or strong presidency was better, they had a falling out that spanned their two presidencies and long into their retirements. Would they hold a grudge forever?

This simply yet evocatively written book gives us a fascinating glimpse at a couple of the founding fathers, as well as teaching young readers important lessons about the nature and value of friendship. The book has a short, informative foreword, but I would have really loved an Author's Note at the end providing more of the backstory about what happened between Adams and Jefferson, and between the Federalists and Republicans.

Despite that flaw (and leaving the reader wanting more is always a good problem to have), this is an excellent little book with bright, appealing illustrations. I randomly picked up this book at the library and I'm so glad I did. The day after reading it, I sat both my husband and daughter down and read it to them. It was a hit all around. I recommend it for parents and teachers wanting to bring early American history to life.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By B. K. DeRosa on November 6, 2012
Format: Hardcover
We bought this book on a whim because my husband is a history buff with a particular interest in John Adams and the early years of the American presidency. I thought at first that our two boys, ages 6 and 3, wouldn't be interested in it; it's a bit long and wordy at first glance. Happily, I was wrong.
Because the book simplifies a very complex situation by framing it, first and foremost, as a disagreement between two friends where everyone else piled on and took sides, it's actually very relatable for children. My kids spend a lot of time nodding in agreement when we read this book. There are still plenty of detailed historical facts for good measure, so it's also still very educational and a wonderful introduction to the history of America's system of government. In the end, it may be a little too heavy on the details for a kids' book, but overall it moves more quickly than you'd think and leaves everyone with a simple truth: That no disagreement can ever truly separate good friends.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Heidi Grange on February 20, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This book provides a brief overview of the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. The two men were different in many ways, physical size, temperament, etc. But they shared a passionate belief in America's right to form her own government. But they differed greatly on presidential power and centralized government. This lead to the feud mentioned in the title. In this book, I think the details that I found the most interesting were the different ways Adams and Jefferson described each other both during their years of conflict and afterwords. During their conflict, Jefferson called Adams, "vain, suspicious, irritable, stubborn, and wrong." Adams called Jefferson ,"weak, confused, uninformed, and ignorant." After their years of conflict, Adams said, "I always loved Jefferson" and Jefferson said Adams was, "honest" and "great." This book does a great job of indicating that people change over time and things that seem so very important at one point can become less important over time. I also enjoyed the humorous elements that the illustrator chose to include. For example, the picture of John Adams jumping on his wig is very amusing as our the pictures of Jefferson and Adams with their own respective grandkids (Jefferson's grandkids are throwing snowballs, Adam's grandkids are throwing pudding all over his living room). This book provides a great way to introduce two of America's founding fathers, along with the fact that while they did great things, they were far from perfect.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LizP on August 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the best of friends while creating the Declaration of Independence and working towards independence from Britain. They were both ambassadors to European countries after the Revolutionary war, and in these roles they were also best of friends. However, when determining what kind of government the United States of America should have, they disagreed. They didn't disagree in a friendly way; they talked about each other behind each other's backs. They chose not to have anything to do with each other. Much later, after Adam's and then Jefferson had been President, they each went home to read and be with their families. During this time, they once again became friends, writing many, many letters back and forth.

In "Worst of Friends" The story of Adams and Jefferson is told as a story almost every child has experienced. Who hasn't been so angry with a friend that he or she has wanted to do the equivalent of jumping on his wig in frustration. It makes two great men seem human. It also teaches a lesson about friendship: that when a best friendship appears to be lost, it may return again.

"Worst of Friends" also gives us an idea of what it's like to have a political friendship. When the two friends agree on politics, the friendship can be very close. When they disagree, sometimes the friendship has to cool down. But that doesn't mean that ultimately the two political friends don't have a great deal of respect for each other.

The illustrations in this book are lighthearted and funny. They augment the text, and they do so effortlessly.

In the front of the book there's an excellent selected bibliography for adult readers.
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