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John, Paul, George & Ben

by Lane Smith

Published by Hyperion, 2006
40 pages
ISBN: 0-7868-4893-6

Age 7 and older

Lane Smith’s funny, irreverent, highly unreliable account of several well-known figures in our nation’s struggle for independence from Britain gets an added lift with references to the twentieth-century British invasion involving four lads from Liverpool. John (Hancock), Paul (Revere), George (Washington) and Ben (Franklin), along with Tom (Jefferson), each played a significant role in the founding of America. But what about their formative years? Smith turns the facts upside down and inside out, fabricating a series of hilarious childhood incidences to underscore the best-known quality of each one’s character (“George was an honest lad . . . Ben was a clever lad . . . Tom was an independent lad.”) From Paul Revere’s youthful job selling underwear to John Hancock’s confident blackboard scrawl, the facts are few and far between but the humor is abundant. Smith clears up any misconceptions in a final section called “Taking Liberties: Wherein we set the record straight with ye olde True or False section.”  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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