Remember Let’s Drive, Henry Ford? Well, Let’s Play Soldier, George Washington! is written by the same authors!
When George Washington was born in 1732, no one knew that he would someday be called the father of his country. No one even knew that a new country would be born – but it was, and he was, indeed, a great part of her birth. But before George could ever attend to matters of state, he had a great many other things to deal with.
For example, when George was eleven, his father died. Both of his older brothers had moved away from home to pursue their own careers, so George was the man of the family. Their farm was large and needed lots of money to keep it running. George had to think of some way to help the family! He began practicing to be a surveyor. What he really wanted was to go to England and receive a formal education there, but he knew that was out of the question. So instead, he worked to learn everything that he could right there in Virginia.
His hard work paid off. One day, he met Lord Fairfax, a man who owned several million acres worth of land. Because George was polite, a good rider, and an excellent surveyor, Lord Fairfax asked him to do a survey of his vast estates. George agreed to go.
The journey was hard, but it was good for George. It made him a better surveyor, but also a better woodsman. When the French and Indian War broke out in the fifties, George was helpful as a messenger and also as a scout for the British. Yes, that’s right, for the British. In his first war, George was a Colonel with the British and Americans against the French and Indians. In his second war, George was a General with the Americans and French against the British. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
Anyway, the short of the story is this – George fought and was a successful soldier. The Americans won the war. Then, George became President – he was successful at that, too. In 1799, when he died, George had been successful at many things, but what we remember most is how well he fought for our country during the war – and after it, too.
Let’s Play Soldier, George Washington! brought forth one fact about George Washington’s life that I had never learned about. And that was his relationship with his mother. Apparently, (or at least according to this book), Mary Washington was a strong-minded woman with a violent temper. When George accidentally killed one of her favorite horses (which she had forbidden him to ride), she never forgave him. Although she often threw obstacles in his path (she did not allow him possession of his father’s farm for years after he legally inherited it), George always treated her with respect.
What I thought was a fascinating fact was included on page thirty-three.
George turned twenty-one on February 22, 1753. George had been born on February 11, 1732. But in 1752, the calendars were changed. This is because the old calendar was off by eleven days. Now, George’s birthday was February 22. Some years, when he wanted to, George celebrated his birthday twice! [pgs. 33-35]
After reporting the number of horses that were shot from under him in one battle, the Roops comment, “George Washington was very lucky.” [pg. 50] No mention is made of George Washington’s great faith in the Christian God.
Ten illustrations were included in Let’s Play Soldier, George Washington!, nine of which I thought were exceptionally goofy.
Conclusion. I believe that Let’s Play Soldier, George Washington! is worthwhile despite the foolish illustrations. Its content was serious but easy to understand.
Review © 2013 Laura Verret