Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Thomas Jefferson: Great American

Thomas Jefferson: Great American

Matt Doeden
Illustrator:  Gordon Purcell , Terry Beatty 
Nonfiction Graphic Novel  Series
For ages 7 to 9
Capstone Press, 2006   ISBN: 978-0736854887

Thomas Jefferson was the son of a plantation owner who lived in Virginia. He was fourteen years old when his father died and, per his father's wishes, Thomas was given a good education. After he was finished with school when he was seventeen, Thomas went to the College of William and Mary where he studied to be a lawyer, a job it was thought he had an aptitude for. After he finished his studies Thomas went back to the family plantation in Virginia where he ran things and practiced law.

When he was twenty-five Thomas was elected to the law making political body in the state, the Virginia House of Burgesses. Things were getting very volatile in the colonies because more and more Americans were tired of paying British taxes, and they were unhappy because they did not have any say in their own government.

In 1775 Thomas went to Philadelphia for the Second Continental Congress where delegates talked about the problems that the Americans were having with the British crown. Despite the efforts of some of the delegates to find a peaceful solution to the problem, war broke out in the spring of 1775 and in 1776 Benjamin Franklin and John Adams asked Thomas to write the Declaration of Independence. This Thomas did and on July 4th the document was adopted by the Continental Congress.

After the war was over Thomas went back to his home in Virginia where he enjoyed some time with his family. Unfortunately, in 1782 his wife Martha died after giving birth to a daughter. Her loss was devastating for Thomas but his eldest daughter Patsy helped him to recover from his grief and she accompanied her father to France when he was asked to go there to work on a peace treaty with Britain.

Five years later, back in America, the new president, George Washington, asked Thomas to be his secretary of state, a job Thomas did not want but which he took because he was needed. In the years ahead Thomas would be asked to do even more for his country, and not wanting to disappoint those who believed in him, Thomas agreed to do what was asked of him.

This excellent title will give young readers a very interesting picture of one of America's most famous men. Readers will be able to see how Thomas was torn by his distaste for slavery and at the same time his need to have slaves work on his plantation. They will see too how much he loved being with his family and how much he disliked public like.

With its graphic novel format and its well written text, this is the perfect book for children who think that history is a dull subject. Thomas Jefferson's life and times are brought to life and in no time readers will be caught up in his story.