Interested? Intrigued? Want to "check it out"?
MOONEY, Carla. George Washington: 25 Great Projects You Can Build Yourself. illus. by Samuel Carbaugh. 121p. (Build It Yourself Series). maps. chron. further reading. glossary. index. Web sites. Nomad. 2010. pap. $15.95. ISBN 978-1-934670-63-7. LC number unavailable.
Gr 3-6-The life of George Washington lends itself remarkably well to a variety of kid-friendly crafts that don't require old-fashioned materials or 18th-century skills. Children will get a kick out of some of the projects, like using a tea bag to make a map look old. Others will mystify them, especially as the crafts get more difficult and require more set-up, and not all include necessary parental warnings about safety. The projects separate biographical chapters that are thorough and clear. However, there is a high degree of fictionalizing in describing Washington's thoughts and feelings. Sidebars with vocabulary words, quotes, interesting facts about the man and his time, and "What if?" questions regarding pivotal moments in Washington's life add to the text. These sidebars, as well as amusing cartoon illustrations, make the subject light and approachable. While the text clearly paints a picture of Washington as a great man and national hero, the author also points out the mistakes he made and how he learned from them, teaching kids an important lesson about failures. While there are many biographies of Washington for this age group, and many books of colonial crafts, this one is unique in its dual purpose and emphasis on accessibility, both in terms of the text and relative ease of the activities. While the design of the book lends itself to the possibility of kids enjoying it on their own, it will be most effective in a classroom.-Heather Talty, Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York City
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