Smith, Lane. 2006. JOHN, PAUL, GEORGE & BEN. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 1423101146 [Suggested Grade Levels K-5]
With a tongue-in-cheek title reference to the Beatles that only adults will understand, Smith presents an entertaining, slightly irreverent, look at revolutionary history. Readers learn about the early childhood traits that later served these men well and made them famous. Their early antics are hilarious, with Paul Revere, who was a “noisy” lad, shouting across the store to a customer about her great, big, extra-large underwear. “Clever” Ben Franklin was always imparting bits of wisdom until he is begged to “please shut your big yap!” and John Hancock was a “bold” lad who signs his name so big it fills the blackboard. Smith uses a variety of illustration techniques to make the pages look weathered, as though they were painted on wood in the 1700’s. This book will serve as a refreshing bit of levity during a potentially boring history lesson.
Discuss each man’s childhood trait that later helped him make history. Challenge readers to think about their own “unique” traits that might come in handy later in life.
Other books about these revolutionary figures:
Barretta, Gene. NOW & BEN. ISBN 0805079173
Borden, Louise. SLEDS ON BOSTON COMMON. ISBN 0689828128
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth. PAUL REVERE’S RIDE. ISBN 1563977990
Tripp, Suzanne. GEORGE DID IT. ISBN 0525475605
By Tammy Korns