From School Library Journal
Grade 1-5 - Part of a series that highlights pivotal events in the lives of young men who went on to become President of the United States, this picture book focuses on the impact a surveying trip had on Washington in his 16th year. The lively, engaging text presents an eerily contemporary childhood (lots of moving) and family life (siblings, half-siblings, dad as head of household, older brother as head of household, a strict and opinionated mother). St. George does a wonderful job of presenting Washington's can-do attitude and incipient charisma. He comes across as thoroughly likable, intelligent, and curious - the kind of person almost anyone would want to know. Large, kinetic, and humorous, Powers's watercolor cartoons extend the narrative well. The only quibble is that the picture-book format may well put off older students who would most benefit from the fairly high-level text. A final page gives a brief snapshot of Washington's life. This is both a sound companion to Roslyn Schanzer's George vs. George
(National Geographic, 2004), which looks at the whole life through the lens of the American Revolution, and a solid replacement for the D'Aulaires' venerable George Washington
(Doubleday, 1936). - Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Gr. 2-4. From the Turning Points series comes the story of George Washington, who learned the depths of his determination after weathering harsh conditions during his first job as a surveyor. The first half of the book covers Washington's early life. Visually, this section is confusing; the illustrations make it difficult to tell George's age (he also looks a bit like Ichabod Crane). There's also some poor wording, leaving the impression that the comment "What a good life" refers not only to George chasing chickens and playing with kittens but also to "watching the family slaves milk the cows." A page or two later, an odd picture shows George and a young slave boy laughing together while other slaves pick tobacco. Better is the book's second half, during which George, as a young man, surveys land in the Shenandoah Valley. Here, both words and art dramatically capture the hardship and chart Washington's personal evolution. A short biography and a bibliography are appended. Notes on the quotations would have been helpful. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved