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King George: What Was His Problem? Review by Kathy GelzerSteve Sheinkin
Roaring Brook Press
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010
King George: What Was His Problem? is a history book on the American Revolution for young people. It is cleverly disguised as something more appealing than the traditional history textbook. A generous amount of caricature-like illustrations by Tim Robinson and short chapter segments with catchy headings help to achieve this. I especially liked the inclusion of clearly drawn, annotated maps.
The 168 pages of text are divided into nine chapters: "How to Start a Revolution"; "A Sleepless Night Before Revolution"; "Who Fired the Shot Heard 'Round the World?" "George Washington, Meet Your Army"; "Declare Independence, Already!" "Losing and Retreating in '76"; "Showdown at Saratoga"; "Will We Ever Win This War?" and "The Great Race to Yorktown." Actual quotes from that time period grace practically every other page.
My children, who range in age from 8 to 13, thought the book would appeal most to younger elementary ages and boys in particular. My ten-year-old daughter disliked some of the casual verbiage ("guy," for example).
At the back of the book, you will find "What Ever Happened To . . . ?" This section gives an epilogue on the lives of 21 of the main characters. Five pages of thorough source notes, 5" pages of quotation notes, and a detailed index round out the book. It is plain to see Steve Sheinkin is a history buff with a love for obscure detail.
I see a variety of audiences for this book: reluctant readers, moms looking for a way to jazz up their history studies, and children who enjoy going a bit deeper into a subject.