Haym Salomon: American Patriot

Haym Salomon: American Patriot

by Susan Goldman Rubin, David Slonim
     
 

The story of one of America's first true patriots

Everyone knows Revolutionary War figures George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Paul Revere, but Haym Salomon was also an important hero, and his accomplishments are finally gaining recognition in this biography that will entertain as it introduces its unique subject. Haym was one of the few JewishSee more details below

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Overview

The story of one of America's first true patriots

Everyone knows Revolutionary War figures George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Paul Revere, but Haym Salomon was also an important hero, and his accomplishments are finally gaining recognition in this biography that will entertain as it introduces its unique subject. Haym was one of the few Jewish patriots of the time. His knowledge of languages and currencies made him an exceptional man in pre-Revolution New York. Incredibly valuable to the revolutionary cause, Haym risked his life and his fortune, went to prison, and was forced to abandon his home and family-all for the sake of American independence. Acclaimed author Susan Goldman Rubin, along with illustrator David Slonim, brings Haym's remarkable story to life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Rubin's (L'Chaim!: To Jewish Life in America) picture-book biography sheds light on Haym Salomon, a Jewish Polish emigrant credited with being the "Financier of the American Revolution." A polyglot with a wealth of experience in European banking, he put his knowledge to work in America raising funds for the impoverished American soldiers and establishing the Bank of North America to serve the fledging republic. Salomon was no colonial-period number cruncher: he was a member of the underground patriot group Sons of Liberty, he escaped from British custody (and a death sentence) and then helped others do so, and he once turned Yom Kippur services at Congregation Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia into a kind of bond drive for the troops. Rubin admits in her lively, scrupulous afterword that factual information on Salomon is scarce, but she does a fine job of imbuing her hero's story with a sense of drama and urgency. As always, Slonim (He Came with the Couch) uses color and texture to great effect, and his historical details (setting, dress) are spot-on; but his rounded cartoon-style characters might seem more at home in a Chelm story than in this biography. Although the paintings' humorous tone feels slightly at odds with the earnestness and relative sophistication of Rubin's text, the artwork does pump up the child appeal. Ages 6-10. (Apr.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Haym Salomon (1740—1785) is one of the lesser-known figures of the American Revolution, especially to younger readers, so it's good to have this accessible biography with its lively and often amusing illustrations. Salomon was apparently devoted to the cause of liberty for his adopted land and was able, through his linguistic and financial skills, to aid the Revolution during and after the war; his early death may have been brought on by tuberculosis caught during one of his imprisonments by the British. The author, after doing considerable research (little is known about Salomon), has told the story mostly through conversations and imagined scenes tailored for her young audience without violating recorded facts. With its rather lengthy text and historical context, it's not exactly a picture book, though there's a picture on every page. (To provide visual relief in the text, the font size of random paragraphs has been enlarged, possibly putting off some older readers.) Slyly depicting patriots, British, Hessian soldiers, synagogue members, and Haym himself, artist Slonim's witty paintings verge on cartoon, but are never without sympathy or insight. Haym, his wife, and his devoted dog are completely engaging as they pursue their many adventures (though a contemporary portrait does suggest a more austere gentleman). Slonim is especially good at using light sources to provide warmth, variety, and drama. Young history buffs captivated by this well designed and produced biography will appreciate notes by author and artist, a glossary of historical terms, and the recommended further reading.
School Library Journal

Gr 3-5 - Salomon was a Jewish-Polish immigrant to America who used his monetary talents to help finance the Revolutionary cause. While his behind-the-scenes efforts were important, they would be of little interest to young readers were it not that Salomon has become a symbol of Jewish-American patriotism. His story is told in oversimplified language that belies the complex events of the time, and the war sounds like much ado about nothing: King George "forced Americans to pay extra money, called taxes, for ordinary things like newspapers, playing cards, and tea. So the colonists declared war on England . . . ." At the same time, detail weighs the story down as readers follow every twist and turn of Salomon's career. The picture-book format, playful typeface, and comical illustrations are at odds with the text. Together, these elements form a confusing package that looks and reads like a book for younger children, but will make little sense to them. While the biography is well researched, it is too convoluted and fictionalized for report writing. Purchase only where there is a strong interest in American Revolutionary themes.-Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
With his knowledge of currencies and gift for languages, Salomon filled a vital niche in the American Revolutionary War. Ever the staunch patriot, he bought and sold goods, secretly worked for the Sons of Liberty, bribed a Hessian guard to escape hanging by the British, helped finance the struggling American cause and attended services at a Philadelphia synagogue. His thanks from the newly formed nation were honorary; none of the loans and funds he advanced was paid back. Both the author and illustrator's approach in this cheerful picture-book biography are geared to younger readers. Almost everyone shares a rather large and round nose, even the dog. The colorful, full-page art imparts a near-comical feeling that is matched by the conversational tone of the text. Oddly, when recounting all the languages he spoke, Rubin does not include Yiddish-the language of many Eastern European Jews. Not a scholarly or in-depth selection, but certainly an entertaining read for young history buffs. (author note, artist note, glossary, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810910874
Publisher:
Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/2007
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 11.37(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
1 - 10 Years

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