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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: A good, clean ex library issue hardback with a few usual marks has previously protected, clean dust jacket. Rather light handling wear. No other imperfections.
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Tricking the Tallyman Hardcover – April 14, 2009

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 1–4—This lively, engaging picture book is an outstanding introduction to the concept of census taking and its role in the implementation of the new United States Constitution. One day in 1790, Phineus Bump rides into Tunbridge, VT. He is an honorable man who takes his duties seriously, yet he wishes to return home to his loved ones, whom he hasn't seen in three months. His job is to count every man, woman, and child in town and report back to the government. But folks are skeptical: Will the numbers be used to establish taxation or conscription, or, as rumors are saying, representation in the new government? They aren't taking any chances and set out to trick the Tallyman, going from one extreme to the other and delaying his completion of the task. Finally, a real understanding of the man's mission allows them to be counted "fair and true." Schindler's exceptional illustrations, mainly in earth tones, depict indoor and outdoor scenes that are full of activity. Children will delight in finding hidden treasures in the pages. Especially noticeable is a look of consternation on a turkey whose feathers have recently been turned into writing quills. Charming and humorous, this book is certain to appeal to children—and to educators.—C. J. Connor, Campbell County Public Library, Cold Spring, KY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The audience for this title will not know the term tallyman, but this story cleverly sums it up. Who will outsmart whom—Phineas Bump, the 1790 U.S. census taker who rides into Tunbridge, Vermont, heartsick, saddle-sore, and down on his luck but determined to count the people for his job, or the townsfolk who don’t want to be counted because they think they’ll have to pay more taxes? When young rascal Boston Pepper gets an idea, it switches their thinking: more people would mean more government representation and more votes to get things done! Overnight, Phineas goes from knocking on doors of empty houses to being welcomed by Mrs. Pepper, whose family has suddenly multiplied (thanks to numerous animals dressed as humans), and it’s a win-win situation. The detailed illustrations underscore the humor while the colloquial dialogue adds flavor; “Cheese and chowder!” exclaimed Mrs. Pepper. Count on teachers zeroing in on this nifty number. Grades 1-3. --Julie Cummins

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Lexile Measure: AD660L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (April 14, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375839097
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375839092
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 0.4 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,725,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Phineas Bump was a Tallyman and he was heading into the town of Tunbridge to count the people, but he was discouraged because he didn't have any "paper, ink and quills." No one wanted to be counted either and that was a real problem. When he tapped on a door in the "District of Vermont" a woman slammed the door in his face claiming the Tunbridge was "a town that won't be counted." He asked the woman for lodging and the door didn't even open a crack. Even more discouraged he had to sleep in the woods. The first United States census of 1790 wasn't going very well, not very well at all.

The towns would have to pay more taxes and the townsmen would be conscripted into the military if they were all counted. The town was going to have to trick the Tallyman and young Boston Pepper had a plan. Mrs. Pepper hid her children and then when Phineas knocked, she let him in. She claimed she was a widow and had no children. "Not a one." Phineas then took his count on the back of a letter his own wife had sent him. "One free white female thus counted." The count had to go on, but everyone in Tunbridge tried to foil it. "That house is empty, Mr. Bump," called out Mrs. Pepper. With all the trickery and shenanigans going on how on Earth was the Tallyman ever going to take his census?

This is a funny story based on historical fact. It wasn't easy for the Tallyman to take an accurate count of people because there was a bit of fear and trickery going on. I enjoyed the historical aspect of the story as will many young readers. The art work gives it just the perfect light comical edge the story required. In the back of the book there is information on the actual 1790 census and questions that were asked (including asking how many slaves lived in the home). In the end there was a count of 3,929,326 in the United States. Are you ready for a Phineas Bump to count you in the upcoming census?
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By Martha on February 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, S.D. Schindler, this is an awesome book for kids- around end of third grade and up is the best age, I think. Schindler's illustrations always make the words fun. This is the story of the first efforts to do a census in the U.S., told inthe form of a funny story. I'm a fan of books for kids that convey useful/true information while they entertain, and this totally fits the bill. I'm a children's Librarian, and I've purchased this for my own collection at home. When I read this one to the third and fourth grades this year, many of the classes broke into spontaneous applause! Highly recommend.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Cute depiction of the first Census. I gave it as a retirement gift to a friend who was retiring from the Census Bureau. She loved it!
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