Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry

Catherine A. Welch
For ages 7 to 9
Lerner Publishing Group, 2006   ISBN: 978-0822559412

Patrick Henry was brought up on a plantation in Virginia. The son of a well educated man, Patrick not only went to school to learn reading and writing, but he was also tutored in a number of subjects at home. Unfortunately Patrick's father could not afford to send him to college. Instead Patrick ran a country store and later he worked on his own farm. The farm was not profitable and Patrick decided that he would take a different path – he would study to become a lawyer.

Though the men who tested him did not care for his rough looks and manners Patrick still managed to pass the law exam. He had his first big case in 1763 and by the power of his words, he won. The case had its roots in the fact that the American colonists were tired of being dictated to by the British crown. They did not see why they should accept all the fees and taxes that the British King insisted that they pay.

In 1765 Patrick joined the Virginia House of Burgesses, a body of men who helped to decide how the colony would be run. Patrick put his considerable skills as a public speaker to great use, encouraging his fellow Virginians to see that the Kings demands were unreasonable and unacceptable.

When Patrick felt that war between the colonies and Great Britain was inevitable and necessary, he once again rose to give a fiery speech. His words encouraged his colleagues in the Second Virginia Congress to agree to arm Virginias for the coming troubles.

This "History Maker Bios" title is written in such as way as to make the story of Patrick Henry interesting and meaningful. The author helps her readers to see what the atmosphere was like in America before, during, and after the Revolutionary War so that they can better understand what motivated Patrick Henry and his friends to do what they did. Numerous annotated illustrations and lots of boxes containing additional information break up the text and give readers a better sense of what it would have been like to live in Patrick's Henry's times.