Tricking the Tallymanby Jacqueline Davies
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!
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
"Charming and humorous, this book is certain to appeal to children–and to educators."
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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