Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Uncommmon  Revolutionary: A story about Thomas Paine

Uncommmon Revolutionary: A story about Thomas Paine

Laura Hamilton Waxman
Illustrator:  Craig Orback 
For ages 8 to 10
Lerner, 2004   ISBN: 157505180X

Thomas Paine loved to learn and to go to school. If he had been a gentleman’s son he would have been able to have a complete education, but because he was the son of a working man, Thomas only stayed in school until he was twelve. After this, he apprenticed to be a corset maker, like his father. It was common at this time for sons to follow in their father’s footsteps because people rarely dared to aspire for something bigger or better.

Thomas dreamed of traveling to distant lands. He loved to read about and to talk about politics and history. Unfortunately, he had to make a living, and he did not have the education or the status to build a scholarly life for himself. So, Thomas made corsets for a while until the tedium became too much. For a time Thomas worked as a sailor, and later he worked for the British government as an exciseman, a tax collector. During his time as an exciseman, Thomas learned a great deal about people and about the government he worked for. In time, this knowledge would prove very useful when Thomas left his homeland to build a new life for himself in America.

This account of Thomas Paine’s life not only gives readers a rich picture of what Thomas Paine’s life was like, but it also will help children to see what it would have been like to live in Thomas Paine’s world. This is one of the titles in the excellent Creative Minds Biographies series.