Dear Mr. Washington by Lynn Cullen, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter
Based on a true story, this enchanting picture book will have everyone smiling. When George Washington comes to the Stuart house to have his official portrait painted, the children must all by on their best behavior. But it doesn’t quite work out that way. With each visit to the house, Charlotte has to write another letter of apology. She has to apologize for the cat racing up his shoulder, for the baby chewing on his hair ribbon, and much more. She shares a list of how they will be better behaved the next time. But then there are her many examples in the following letter of how very good they had been, which was not actually true. In each and every letter though, she is cajoling Mr. Washington to smile in his picture. Can a very serious president handle the wild and silly Stuart clan?
A large part of the joy of this book is that it’s based on a true story. You can read the author’s note at the end to see just how much. The interplay between Mr. Washington and the children is lovely. He mutters under his breath, ignores them as best he can, and yet it all ends up a mess anyway. And the children themselves are cheery and playful, undeterred by either their parents demanding they behave or the scowling Mr. Washington.
Carpenter’s art adds to the fun. She merrily depicts the naughty children from the baby chewing on Mr. Washington’s shoe to the entire group falling asleep all together on top of him. It’s great to see a historical book that is playful and fun.
A great read aloud, this book is funny, silly and filled with history and art. What more could you want? Appropriate for ages 6-9.
Reviewed from copy received from Dial.