Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Farmer George Plants a Nation

Farmer George Plants a Nation

Peggy Thomas
Illustrator:  Layne Johnson 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 8 to 10
Boyds Mills Press, 2008   ISBN: 159078460X

When he was twenty-seven years old George Washington came home after serving in the army for four years. The French and Indian was over and he now had to build a life for himself and his family on Mount Vernon, the plantation that he had inherited. The soil was poor and George had a lot to learn about farming. He read books and experimented with different growing techniques and over time George made his plantation almost completely self sufficient. He did this because it made economic sense and also because it freed him from having to pay the unfair taxes that the British levied against the American colonists.

In the summer of 1775 George agreed to leave his beloved home and serve as the commander in chief of the continental army. He would not be able to come back to Mount Vernon for eight long years. When he got back he set about improving the plantation further. After being given some donkeys as a gift George bred strong and hardy mules (the first in America) that were ideal for pulling a plow and other farm jobs. He spread the word about what he learned because he strongly felt that America needed “successful farmers in order to grow into a successful nation.”

Many of us know about George Washington the general and George Washington the president. Thanks to this book readers will learn that he spent a considerable amount of his time being a farmer. He was forward thinking and innovative, and turned his plantation into a thriving establishment. Packed with quotations from George Washington’s writings, this book will give readers an altogether new picture of the first president; it is one that humanizes him and that shows us that George Washington had many sides to his character.