Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

George Washington: A Picture Book Biography

George Washington: A Picture Book Biography

James Cross Giblin
Illustrator:  Michael Dooling 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Scholastic, 1998   ISBN: 978-0590481014

George Washington lived with his mother, father, and his brothers and sister on a farm in Virginia. He had a happy and carefree life until he was eleven when his father died. George’s older half brother Lawrence did his best to take the place of his father, teaching young George to hunt and shoot and often inviting him to his house, Mount Vernon.

When he was only sixteen George got his first job as a surveyor helping to map Virginia’s western reaches. He had a grand time and learned a great deal about surviving in the wilderness. Unfortunately soon after he got home he sustained another loss, his brother Lawrence died. Soon after this tragic event George signed up to be a major in the Virginia Militia. He went west once again, only this time it was to fight the French and their allies for the English King.

When the conflict ended George went back to Virginia and lived in Mount Vernon. He found himself a wife and lived happily with her and her two children for many years. And then his peace and quiet was completely disrupted – he was asked to become Commander in Chief of the new American army. Though he hated the idea of leaving home, George believed in the cause – America independence – and he agreed to serve. George had no way of knowing then that he would be required to lead his fellow countrymen in war for the next eight years.

When the war against Britain was finally over in 1783, George Washington was delighted to finally be able to go home. Then his countrymen and countrywoman asked for his help again. This time they wanted George to be their first president. Again George was reluctant to leave Mount Vernon but he did what was asked of him.

For eight more long years George Washington did his duty, though he found parts of his job quite irksome. Some people tried to get George to run for office for a third term but he had had enough. George Washington was finally allowed to retire and to go home. Only two years later George died at Mount Vernon.

This beautifully illustrated picture book tells the story of America’s first president in an engaging and interesting way. It gives children an excellent picture of what George Washington was like, presenting him as a congenial and good man who did his best to do what was right.

At the back of the book the author provides his readers with further information about George Washington. There is a map, a timeline, information about the famous cherry tree story, “a sampling” of George Washington’s “Rules of Good Behavior,” and information about the “Monuments to George Washington.”