Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Picture Book of Dolley and James Madison

A Picture Book of Dolley and James Madison

David A. Adler, Michael S. Adler
Illustrator:  Ronald Himler 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Holiday House, 2009   ISBN: 0823420094

James Madison came from a large Virginian family. He grew up on a plantation with his many siblings until he was around eleven years old, when he was sent to a boarding school. After attending college Madison had to decide what he was going to do with his life. Would be become a lawyer or a preacher? In the end Madison decided to become a politician.

It was while he was serving as a congressman in Washington, DC, that Madison met a lively pretty young widow called Dolley. In 1793 Dolley’s husband and one of her children died in a yellow fever epidemic. A year later, Dolley married Madison, and the couple were very happy together. A few years after their marriage Madison decided to go back home to Virginia. Madison might have thought that his time in the spotlight was over, but it wasn’t. His greatest adventure still lay ahead of him.

This engaging and well written picture book biography perfectly captures the essence of James and Dolley Madison’s close partnership. Readers will come to appreciate that Dolley was not a typical first lady, and yet her courage and her unique personality made her a perfect companion for her husband. Though Dolley and Madison were very different in many ways, together they formed a partnership that stood strong even the hardest of times.