Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Literary Adventures of Washington Irving: American Storyteller

The Literary Adventures of Washington Irving: American Storyteller

Cheryl Harness
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 10
National Geographic Children's Books, 2008   ISBN: 978-1426304385

Washington Irving was named after America's first president. When he was just six years old he even had the honor of meeting his namesake. Of course, the meeting did not have that much of an impact on a little boy who was more interested in playing games with his brothers. As he got older, Washington grew to love books and tales of grand adventures that would take him "to the ends of the earth" in his imagination.

When he was in his mid teens "Wash" began to have real adventures of his own, traveling on the Hudson River, and then going north into Canada. Then, in 1804, Wash went to Europe for the first time where he experienced the "Grand Tour" to the fullest.

Back in New York, Wash took the bar exam and became a lawyer. He also began to write. The comical A History of New York was his first book, which he wrote under a nom de plume. Later, after the family business failed, Washington decided to try to make a living by writing. Thus, American readers got to read about the adventures of Rip Van Winkle, the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and other tales.

In this beautifully illustrated and wonderfully presented picture book, Cheryl Harness takes her readers back in time to the late 1700's when America was just beginning to flex is national muscles. Readers will find out about Washington Irving's many adventures, and they will discover that this wonderful writer had several different careers during his long and interesting life.

With her one-of-a-kind artwork and her carefully researched and entertaining text, Cheryl Harness once again brings history to life.