Paired with illustrator Tim Robinson, Sheinkin isn't adverse to a little skimming himself, but for the most part this is probably the most interesting book on the revolution for kids you're going to find this side of Jean Fritz. With section headings like "Revere and That Other Guy" and "How to Start a Revolution", kids will learn just as much about George Washington's atrocious love poetry as they will the details of "General Burgoyne's Pretty Good Plan". Illustrations by Tim Robinson complement the action and back matter includes a "Whatever Happened To...?" section that talks about the rest of the major players' lives, heavily researched and beautifully presented Source Notes, and Quotation Notes. And be aware that even though Sheinkin likes to pepper his book with the mildly ridiculous, he never descends into rumor or hearsay. . ." And when it comes to first person accounts you sometimes run into sentences like "British and American witnesses tell different versions of the story. We are taught that the American Revolution was a good thing. And he does mention that the British opposed slavery and the American didn't. Yet he never attempts to explain or solve one of the biggest mysteries connection with the slaves; Why on earth did some of them help the American cause? If the British winning might mean a potential end to slavery why did people like Prince Estabrook, John Glover's black and white regiment, and especially James Armistead (who remained enslaved until 1787) help the colonists? Sheinkin couldn't hope to cover every aspect of the war, but if he's writing a book that discusses the things we're never taught in school, I'd think that this would be the number one mystery to confront head on (or at least touch on at more length than is found here). Illustrator Tim Robinson has done a fine job providing pictures of the major players and important maps from the time period. In the back of this book you will find a section of titles called a "Collection of quotes, memoirs, and other primary sources by Revolution participants," that is prefaced by a section explaining why first person accounts are fabulous. This book goes beyond merely teaching kids about the American Revolution. Essentially this may be the ideal thing to hand to a kid who is required to read some kind of book about the Revolution.
Steve Sheinkin has evolved into such a brilliant writer of narrative nonfiction that when I read his earlier books I'm a bit let down because I am expecting more fictional elements. After reading "Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales" graphic novel series, this book helped fill in the blanks as to the timeline of famous people in history giving an excellent overview of the American Revolution and key players in a grisly war. Characters don't take on the shape that they do in Sheinkin's narrative nonfiction and that is what I miss the most when reading his books from almost a decade ago. They are full of interesting facts but he doesn't describe characters in depth as found in more recent books. He does describe colorful figures, but he is covering too many people over too long a time to be conducive to a narrative nonfiction story that follows a few characters. For instance, the part on Benjamin Franklin gives funny, ridiculous information about how John Adams and Benjamin Franklin had to share a bed and argued over keeping the window open or closed to showing that Adams didn't understand how Franklin's full social calendar was providing critical support from the French government needed for the Americans to win the war.
The author is a text book writer who got tired of having to leave all the funny and really interesting historical bits out of the text books, so he decided to write a book with all those bits left in! And like any good text book writer, the source notes go on for pages.
King George What Was His Problem: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn't Tell You About the American Revolution. (Almost reminiscent of Kathleen Krull in my opinion.) Product description from the publisher's site: KING GEORGE NEVER DID UNDERSTAND AMERICANS Entire books have been written about the causes of the American Revolution. But just because it's entertaining doesn't mean the research was lazy.
Steve Sheinkin's non-text book take on the American Revolution is a delightful recap or reminder of events leading up to and following the United States's independence from Great Britain.
I was under the impression that the book would be about King George and his perspective of the American Revolution.
I enjoyed the omniscient narrator giving me tidbits throughout the book.
Probably my all-time favorite was a book called Mutiny on the Bounty, a novel based on the true story of a famous mutiny aboard a British ship in the late 1700s. After college I moved to Washington, D.C., and worked for an environmental group called the National Audubon Society. We wrote some screenplays, and in 1995 made our own feature film, a comedy called A More Perfect Union (filing pictured below), about four young guys who decide to secede from the Union and declare their rented house to be an independent nation. I wrote short stories, screenplays, and worked on a comic called The Adventures of Rabbi Harvey. Gradually, I began writing chapters for textbooks, and that turned into my full-time job. But looking back, I actually feel pretty lucky to have spent all those years writing textbooks.