Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Journey of the one and only Declaration of Independence

The Journey of the one and only Declaration of Independence

Judith St. George
Illustrator:  Will Hillenbrand 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 10
Penguin, 2005   ISBN: 978-0399237386

Most of us know how the American Declaration of Independence came into being. Brave Americans who had had enough of British rule wrote it to show that they were no longer willing to let a sovereign in a foreign country decide how they should do things. It is a very important document to the American people and one assumes that it has also resided under thick glass in some official building for the entire world to see.

If you do assume this you would be wrong because the Declaration has "had more homes than a travelling circus." So what happened to the Declaration after it was written? Well first of all it was made official and copies of it were made to be sent all over the country so that the American people could read for themselves what had been signed on that fateful day in Pennsylvania. The "one-and-only" official Declaration wasn't put in safe keeping though. Dear me no, the document ended up having all kinds of adventures; it had to be carried to safety where the British could not get their hands on it. Then there was the move to Washington. There it was hung in such a way that it was in danger of falling apart. To and fro the fragile paper was carried, displayed in smoky rooms, placed in metal cases. It was only in 1924 that the Declaration was put on display for all American to view. Not that this was the end of the Declaration?s adventures. Dear me no...

This rollicking story about the Declaration of Independence will both amuse and fascinate children. Who would have thought that a piece of paper could have had such a wild and exciting existence? Truly one cannot help thinking as one reads this picture book "if only paper could talk."

Once again Judith St. George has made history fun and accessible for young children through her lively text. By peppering the text with all sorts of little-know facts, she makes the story entertaining and educational.

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