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Children's LiteratureThis very detailed story of the early life of George Washington is both a visual treat and a thoughtful look at the influences on the boy who would become president. The second in a series of books focused on turning points in the lives of our presidents, this title looks at Washington and the influence of his older brother, Laurence, who inspired young George to become a surveyor. But the rest of Washington's family is not slighted in our understanding of their impact on him as we meet his parents and other siblings. The illustrations in this text add sparkle (for lack of a better word) to the portrayal of the various characters; for example, although the author does not provide any specific adjectives to define Washington's mother, Mary, the illustrations show a woman with a strong personality and a definite view on what she will and will not allow in the life of her son. The double-page illustrations will certainly gain the attention of younger readers and keep them interested, even when the text seems a bit long. Both writer and illustrator have been so thorough in their renderings of Washington's life that older readers could actually use this book as a starting point for research on George Washington. If the rest of the series is as strong as this text, it will be a must have for parents and librarians alike. 2005, Philomel Books/Penguin, Ages 7 to 14.
—Jean Boreen, Ph.D.