Liberty Lee's Tail of Independenceby Peter W. Barnes, Cheryl Shaw Barnes
Look, right over thereoh say can you see?
It’s a Yankee Doodle mouse named Liberty Lee!
Children's Literature - Sharon M. HimslLiberty Lee is one proud Yankee Doodle mouse. He helped Thomas Jefferson write the Declaration of Independence in 1776! The story of America's path to freedom is told through Liberty's perky voice, beginning with the first colony in Jamestown, Virginia more than four hundred years ago. Together Liberty's mouse ancestors and other brave colonists, such as Captain John Smith, worked the land. The settlement prospered and eventually grew into thirteen colonies. "And for most, these were peaceful and prosperous years," writes Barnesuntil the King of England ordered a heavy tax on their food, goods, and services. Angered over the unfair taxes and English rule, the colonists dumped a shipment of tea overboard into Boston's harbor in protest. It was the start of the American Revolution. Barnes's delightful retelling of history is told in rhyme, including the first clause of the Declaration of Independence. Detailed illustrations in bright colors fill the pages with child-friendly maps and historic scenes. Children will like searching for Liberty's image on every page as the story unfolds, and parents and teachers will appreciate the pace of the read-aloud text. The illustrated timeline and resource at the back summarizing events will help with questions about events. Reviewer: Sharon M. Himsl
School Library JournalGr 1–3—In rhyming text, Liberty Lee, a mouse, presents a highly simplified version of the early history of the United States and how the Declaration of Independence was written. Lee says his great-great-great grandfather was an early colonist. Commenting on the founding of Jamestown and the development of the 13 colonies through the mid-1700s, he says, "For most, these were peaceful and prosperous years." The illustration of Jamestown makes it look like a thriving, cheerful place, with no mention of conflicts with Native people, disease, or starvation. The French and Indian War is skipped to go straight to the Intolerable Acts. The conceit of having the mouse tell the story does not work as well as Robert Lawson's classic Ben and Me. Lee is merely reporting; he does not add to the story directly. This idealized account does not mention slavery or the conflicts within the Congress. King George is the only enemy. The illustrations, rendered in watercolor and colored pencil, have an amateurish quality and lack a sense of drama. The members of the Continental Congress mostly are indistinguishable except for their hair color, and the battle scenes look like a child has arranged toy soldiers. Suzanne Jurmain's Worst of Friends (Dutton, 2011) and Barbara Kerley's Those Rebels, John and Tom (Scholastic, 2012) are much more informative and entertaining.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
- Regnery Publishing
- Publication date:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 8.60(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.40(d)
- Age Range:
- 5 - 8 Years
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