Overview

Are kids interested in learning about the very first American census? Probably not. Do young readers clamor for stories set in the very, very olden days of the late 18th century? Uh, not really. Okay, but do they like nutty cat-and-mouse trickery, wacky slapstick, and animals disguised as people? You bet! So let them have all that, and if they end up learning a thing or two about our country, its history, and the ways our government works, shhh...
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Overview

Are kids interested in learning about the very first American census? Probably not. Do young readers clamor for stories set in the very, very olden days of the late 18th century? Uh, not really. Okay, but do they like nutty cat-and-mouse trickery, wacky slapstick, and animals disguised as people? You bet! So let them have all that, and if they end up learning a thing or two about our country, its history, and the ways our government works, shhh . . . we won’t tell!

Tricking the Tallyman accomplishes the tricky task of showing kids the way the 1790 census was tabulated (or tallied) and how the country’s new citizens came to understand (after much misunderstanding) how it worked to help them and the country. Excellent for classroom use or to put in the hands of bright kids with a taste for the quirky and irreverent, young readers may enjoy this story so much they might not even notice how much they’ve learned!
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Nicole Peterson Davis
Do you know how many people live in your house? How many people live in your neighborhood? Now, how many people live in your city? Every 10 years in the United States we count everyone. In 1790 it was the first time we counted the people in the United States, and many people became suspicious of the counting. In the town of Tunbridge, Vermont, they did not want to be counted, so the tallyman found much more than he bargained for when he knocked on the doors. This picture book tells a great story, and also teaches a lot about the American government and history of the United States. Along with that it teaches children the value of honesty and completing things that are started. The illustrations in this entertaining book enhance the storyline. This book will be a great addition to school and personal libraries. Reviewer: Nicole Peterson Davis
School Library Journal

Gr 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

Kirkus Reviews
The tallyman is a census-taker, and in Davies's book, he is Phineas Bump-"heartsick, saddle-sore, and down on his luck"-and something of a clever-boots poking through the "rooty Vermont woods" in 1790 to take his count of the locals. He's been on the road too long, misses his wife and has run short of paper and ink, but he's a dutiful soul who must outfox the suspicious residents of a Vermont town to get his job done. The good citizens of Tunbridge fear the tallyman's count is all about taxes and conscription, so they scheme to deceive him. Then they learn the count is all about proportional representation in government, so they scheme to deceive him contrariwise. When they learn it is all three, they are reduced to playing an honest hand. Schindler draws this waggish, keen-witted piece of Americana with delicate colors and fine lines. All told, it is a slice of engaging history-told with a bracing comic flourish: " ‘Carp and cod!' exclaimed Mrs. Pepper . . . ‘Cheese and chowder!' "-sandwiched between wily designs, making for extremely satisfying fare. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-8)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, School Library Journal, March 2009:
"Charming and humorous, this book is certain to appeal to children–and to educators."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385755207
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 1/7/2014
  • Sold by: Random House
  • Format: NOOK Kids
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • File size: 13 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Jacqueline Davies lives with her family in Needham, Massachusetts. Tallyman began with Davies’ involvement in a school project about the national census.

S. D. Schindler lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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