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Children's LiteratureIs yet another children's book about the American Revolution necessary? Yes, when the author writes in lively, accessible prose. Yes, when she is an accomplished illustrator whose vibrant, folk-art-style paintings expand upon the text. And, yes, when the book's imaginative concept is successfully executed. "There are two sides to every story," the author says in the introduction. The two Georges—George Washington and King George III—are the book's focus although, as the author points out, many others were involved in the American Revolution. She begins by describing their personal similarities, including the fact that Washington fought alongside the British Army during the Seven Years War. People's opinions of each man changed as the two sides became more hostile "Who could imagine that the fabric binding America to Great Britain was about to unravel or that the two Georges were about to become bitter enemies? Who could guess that George III would be the last king of America, and that George Washington would one day become its first president?" Through a series of contrasts, the author tells the story of the heightening animosities that culminated in war. By using both sides' points-of-view, she provides an objective approach that encourages readers to think and perhaps, by extension, to understand that there are two sides to every confrontation. The uncaptioned illustrations become part of the text. Visually exciting, they contain interesting tidbits, as well as quotes. This vibrant overview of a complicated subject will encourage readers to want to learn more. 2004, National Geographic, Ages 8 to 12.
—Ellen R. Butts