Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Washington is Burning

Washington is Burning

Marty Rhodes Figley
Illustrator:  Craig Orback 
For ages 6 to 10
Millbrook Press, 2006   ISBN: 978-1575058757

The city of Washington is in a state of turmoil. British soldiers are not far away and the American troops are not ready to fight them to protect the city. It is 1814 and the Americans and the British have been fighting for two years now. President Madison has had to leave the capital on important business and has asked his personal servant, Paul Jennings, to take care of Mrs. Madison. This is not an easy task for Dolley Madison is a determined woman who will do as she thinks best. As the British get closer and closer Dolley decides to pack up as many valuable state papers as she can. She will leave only when she is sure that her husband is safe however, which greatly worries those who care about her safety.

At last Dolley accepts that she can delay no longer. There are a few things left to do however, for she will not allow the British to get their hands on some of the more valuable treasures in the White House. There is only one thing for it, she and Paul will have to take these items with them.

American children will be fascinated to discover that their country's capital was practically burned to the ground by the British and to read this account told from the point of view of one of Madison's black slaves. They will also be interested to learn that one of the items saved by Dolley Madison and her servants was what is now a famous painting of George Washington.

This is one of the titles in the "On my own history" series.