Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Picture Book of Robert E. Lee (Picture Book Biography)

A Picture Book of Robert E. Lee (Picture Book Biography)

David A. Adler
Illustrator:  John C. Wallner , Alexandra Wallner 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Holiday House, 1998   ISBN: 978-0823413669

Robert Edward Lee was the son of Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee, who served in the Revolutionary war, and who was chosen to be the governor of Virginia. Though Robert’s father was famous and well thought of, Henry Lee did know how to manage his business dealings and finances, and he got so badly in debt that he had to move his family to a rented house in the town of Alexandria.

When Robert was only six, his father went to the West Indies to recuperate from an injury. On his way home, Henry Lee died and Robert found himself in the position of having to take care of his ailing mother and their household.

When he was eighteen, Robert left home and went to West Point to train to become a soldier. Four years later his education was complete, and two years afterwards, Robert married the great-granddaughter of Martha Washington. Though Robert was often away, serving in the army, he and his wife had a happy marriage.

For several years Robert was in charge of engineering projects for the army, and then in 1846 he served in the Mexican War. His courage and good sense earned him the respect of many. Though he was a “great soldier” Robert hated war. When it looked as if a civil war might break out in the United States, Robert prayed that peace would prevail, but his prayers were not answered, and the gentle man was called on to serve in yet another war, this time as a general and presidential advisor.

This excellent picture book biography perfectly captures Robert E. Lee’s personality, helping readers to appreciate the problems he faced, and the courage he showed. Children will find out what it was like to be a soldier in those days, and they will learn about some of the important battles that took place during the American Civil War.