Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Revolutionary Friends: General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette

Revolutionary Friends: General George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette

Selene Castrovilla
Illustrator:  Drazen Kozjan 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Boyds Mills Press, 2013   ISBN: 978-1590788806

When he was only nineteen years old, the Marquis de Lafayette felt “a call to glory” when he heard about the conflict between the Americans and their English overlords. He wanted to stand with the Americans and join their fight for freedom and independence. Leaving his homeland was not easy to do as the King of France did not feel inclined to let the marquis go. Lafayette ended up paying for his own ship and sneaking out of the country.

   After fifty-four miserable days at sea and a miserable month spent traveling hundreds of miles over land, the marquis got to his destination. He was finally in the same room with General George Washington.  In a tavern. The setting was not elegant, but the marquis did not care. He was in the presence of his idol and he has been given an honorary position in the general’s army.

   General Washington was having a hard time. His advisors were pestering him and he was “tired of sharing strategies with men deaf to reason.” His untrained troops were ill-prepared for fighting the redcoats, and they were lacking the most basic of supplies, including food, clothes, and guns.

   Lafayette desperately wanted a command of this own, but Congress would not give him one. Then the British began to advance on Philadelphia. They managed to cross Brandywine Creek in several places and the American troops were panicking. Something had to be done. Washington agreed to let Lafayette join the fray, never suspecting that from that moment he and the young French nobleman would be the best of friends for the rest of their lives.

   In this wonderful picture book biography the author tells the story of a remarkable friendship, one that lasted for decades. The narrative is accompanied by quotes from the marquis’ writings, and at the back of the book the author provides readers with further information about the friendship that was born during the American Revolution.  The author also gives readers timelines of the lives of Lafayette and George Washington, and other informational resources.