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George Washington's Birthday: A Mostly True Tale

by Margaret McNamara
Illustrated by Barry Blitt

Published by Schwartz & Wade, 2012
32 pages
ISBN: 978-0-375-84499-7

Ages 6-10

A picture book history explores fact versus fiction is a cleverly entertaining lesson in not believing everything you read. Margaret McNamara’s playful, imagined day-in-the life on George Washington’s seventh birthday offers up a series of contrasting facts and myths, including the famous—and fictional—chopping down of the cherry tree incident. For every myth or inaccuracy intentionally referenced in the main narrative, McNamara provides a “fact” box pointing out the truth, including clarification on Washington’s adult life. So when young Washington’s father tells him to powder his wig, the boxed fact explains that Washington never wore a wig as either child or adult. But he did powder his hair. As for Washington crossing the Delaware? After young George crosses an icy creek he declares that he never wants to do anything like that again. In the fact box, readers learn that General Washington’s crossing of the Delaware was not a single trip, but comprised of multiple crossings as he went back and forth as the Revolutionary Army prepared for what became a key battle in the war. Barry Blitt’s illustrations are a blend of period detail and whimsy perfectly matched to McNamara’s story.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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