Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Dolley Madison Saves George Washington

Dolley Madison Saves George Washington

Don Brown
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2007   ISBN: 978-0618411993

Almost everyone who met her came to love Dolley Madison. She was charming, lovely, she dressed beautifully, she gave delightful parties, and she was a skilled hostess. When her husband, James Madison, was the secretary of state Dolley performed hostessing duties for President Jefferson, who was a widower. When James became the president himself she took on her first lady duties with a will. Not only did she preside over lots of parties and get-togethers, but she also gave the Presidential Mansion a much needed redecorating. One of her favorite items in the house was a life-size portrait of George Washington, who was a distant relative of hers.

Then, in 1812, war broke out between Britain and America. Britain even went so far as to invade America and British soldiers marched on Washington D.C. When all her friends and neighbors fled the city Dolley refused to leave. She watched and waited for her husband to come home. When the soldiers guarding the presidential mansion ran away Dolley still stayed. Quickly Dolley packed up important documents and valuables. She arranged for the famous painting of George Washington to be removed from its wall and taken to safety. Only then did Dolley think about leaving the stricken city herself.

In this splendid picture book biography the author gives his readers a fascinating picture of what Dolley Madison was really like. Not only was she a much loved socialite, but she was also a brave and determined woman who did what needed to be done and who supported her husband faithfully.

In this book the author not only tells an absorbing story but he also makes Dolley's words reach out to us across the years by incorporating quotes into his text. In addition he provides readers with further information about Dolley at the back of the book in an author's note. Finally, he has written a small section about the painter who created that famous painting of George Washington.