Review by Booklist Review
In a series of two-page spreads, Winter and Blitt profile 14 of the nation's founding fathers, detailing their accomplishments, hypocrisies, and humanity. The endpapers identify the players on the varsity (the usual suspects) and junior varsity (lesser-known figures) squads, and each spread functions as a sort of trading card. The left-hand page features a large-frame portrait, birth and death dates, and sobriquet. The right includes a short biography and a collection of vital statistics, including everything from height and shoe size to religious views and slave ownership. Winter's informal, occasionally irreverent narrative pairs beautifully with Blitt's practiced political cartoon style. Individually, the pieces offer indelible depictions of these sometime heroes that respect and skewer them in equal measure. Taken together, they deliver a revolutionary Revolutionary history that defies simplification to honor the profound complexities of the origins of the U.S. Back matter includes contextual definitions of historical issues and events.--Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2015 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Pointing out that the expression "Founding Fathers" sounds like the name of a rock band or baseball team, Winter looks into who 14 of these men really were, warts and all: "Thomas Jefferson was sort of a mixed bag. Dude wrote that 'all men are created equal.' But then he also wrote that blacks were inferior humans!" Winter includes quotations from each man, as well as lists of stats with categories including their wealth, political party, "Stance on France," and "Opinion on Boston Tea Party" (Benjamin Rush was a "huge fan"). Blitt's pen-and-ink caricatures are right in line with Winter's playful tone, as he pokes fun at Washington, Franklin, Paine, and others, while giving readers a strong understanding of why these figures' contributions to the developing nation were so significant. Ages 5-8. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 2-5-Winter, best known for You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax? (Random, 2009), joins news magazine illustrator Blitt in a quick-facts collective biography of 14 American Founding Fathers. Each spread features a full-page watercolor caricature of each man's most famous attribute, with visual and amusingly anachronistic puns (John Jay, "the peacemaker," flashes a 1960s peace sign). The facing page includes a summarizing paragraph, quotations, and a list of facts and statistics (main residence, land owned, "stance on France," and more), supplemented by small cartoons. No women or minorities are featured, but Winter is upfront about his scope: "a bunch of guys [who wrote] the original rule book for how the game called 'America' would be played." The occasional oddball value ("Zebras Owned: 0") inspires detailed attention to otherwise repetitive lists, while the breezy tone ("Jefferson may've been one smart green bean, but that old Hamilton was pretty smart too") may win some readers' affection, though others may wonder if Winter is trying too hard. Concluding statistical notes and an explanation of important concepts enrich the expository "preamble" from the book's opening pages. This title has a strong balance of serious information and humor. It acknowledges disagreements among prominent figures ("Arguing is what Americans have always done best") and ambiguities in their views (several spoke out against slavery while owning slaves themselves), and it provides detailed but audience-appropriate explanations of how statistics were calculated. A useful reference for American history fact-finding assignments or general history interest.-Jill Ratzan, I.L. Peretz Community Jewish School, Somerset, NJ (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review
Irreverent portraits--in witty text, quick facts, and pen-and-ink and watercolor caricatures--of the men who fought, orated, wrote the constitution, and led the nation in its early days. Winter comically describes a "Varsity Squad" (Washington, Jefferson, etc.) and dubs lesser-known men "Junior Varsity" (including Samuel Adams and John Hancock). No index or pagination, but great material for debates. Reading list, websites. (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Fourteen of the men who somehow separated from one country and cobbled together a new one despite their differences are presented in a lively celebration of politics and personalities. Each gets a two-page spread with a full-page portrait (name, sobriquet and dates included) along with a casual, colloquially phrased summary biography and then lots of stats presented briefly and intriguingly: height, weight, political leaning, education, wealth, and religious belief, in addition to hobbies, nickname and position on the Boston Tea Party. This last, notes Winter in an excellent addendum/glossary, was by no means a political action supported by all the founders. Winter addresses the question of ownership of humans directly, noting what his subjects' expressed views were on slavery as well as which of these early Americans owned slaves. Winter's folksy narrative manages to give each of the founders both dignity and humanity. Blitt's signature style is perfectly suited to this droll enterprise. His Benjamin Franklin multitasks, his Patrick Henry emotes. The witty, energetic illustrations include clever references and a couple of sly anachronisms. Endpapers offer oval portraits of the entire lineup, with Washington, Franklin and Jefferson among the seven on the "Varsity" team, and Hancock, Marshall and Paine among the "Junior Varsity" faces. Author's notes and a resource list are included, but frustratingly, the book lacks pagination and indexing. Wonderful for future constitutional scholars and other curious young readers. (Nonfiction. 8-13) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.