- Rebecca Purdy
Recently at the library, it’s all about George. In preparation for our current Rappahannock Reads title, “George Washington, Spymaster” by Thomas B. Allen each branch has cardboard cutouts of the big man himself just waiting for you to take a selfie. If you aspire to be more like George, then your family can enjoy our scavenger hunt and claim your prize--a George Washington mask! You’ll venture into the stacks on a quest for answers to Washington related trivia questions. You’ll learn something new about this most famous American, have fun and hopefully be inspired to learn more. After all, when you hear about some of these wonderful titles, how can you resist?
My all-time favorite George Washington title is actually a picture book called “George Washington’s Teeth” by Deborah Chandra and Madeleine Comora. The book follows Washington’s tooth travails beginning with the Revolution, a time when he was constantly losing teeth and in pain. When he’s finally lost them all and a spring-based pair of false teeth doesn’t work, Washington takes matters into his own hands. Using lost teeth that he has saved, he has a plaster model made to create a new set. Like so many of us, I learned at a young age that his teeth were made of wood. Not true! His teeth were actually made of hippopotamus ivory which, while they may not have had splinters, were nonetheless uncomfortable! Written in rhyme with Brock Cole’s softly colored, cartoon like illustrations this is a great read aloud. Don’t let the fact that it’s a picture book keep you from reading it to your school aged children as well; they will enjoy it too! You’ll learn even more by reading the important events timeline filled with fascinating facts and descriptions from diaries, letters and accounts.
In “George Did It” by Suzanne Tripp Jurmain, everyone knew who was honest and dependable--George! When our developing country needed a general for their brand new army--George did it. When Americans needed help writing the Constitution--George did it. When Americans needed a first president--George said, no thank you! There was so much to consider and he didn’t want to be the first to figure it all out, but no one listened so he accepted the job. After finalizing his preparations and borrowing one hundred pounds to fund his trip, he began his journey to New York. He finally arrived in time for his inauguration, but Congress forgot to supply a Bible; one was borrowed and George became the first president of the United States.
Can you imagine finding a code of conduct at the age of 14 and following it for the next 53 years? George Washington did, and “George-isms: The 110 Rules George Washington Wrote When He Was 14 and Lived by All His Life” lists every one! The rules were given to Washington as a child, and he took them enough to heart to copy them all in his own hand. Some are serious, “Speak not evil of the absent, for it is unjust” and some amusing, “Rinse not your mouth in the presence of others.” Each is written in its original entirety, but also translated into modern vernacular English for ease of understanding.
Originally published in the Free Lance-Star newspaper.