- Craig Graziano
To Dare Mighty Things, by Doreen Rappaport, brings Theodore Roosevelt to rough-riding, "Bully!"-shouting life, showing what made America's 26th president such a captivating figure.
Born a sickly child, young "Teedie" tranforms his mind and body with the help of books and exercise. The constant mental and physical challenges pay off handsomely when he is accepted to Harvard—and he brings his giant tortoise along.
We move through Roosevelt's life, with real quotations from his letters and speeches. Successes and hardships are both documented. One defining tragedy in Theodore's life was when his wife and his mother both died on the same day. This tragedy only made him work harder when it came to public service. In a variety of offices, including the presidency, Roosevelt fought against corruption and for environmental conservation, among other key issues.
Rappaport keeps the text sparse and poetic, allowing C.F. Payne's beautiful illustrations to take precedence. Payne draws Roosevelt with a delicate blend of accuracy and caricature, which nails Teddy's larger-than-life persona.
The book presents the many sides of Roosevelt: the frontiersman, the soldier, the father, the president. All of them encompass his main role as a person of action. Rappaport and Payne effectively bring Roosevelt's actions to life and explain them in a way that any age, young or old, can appreciate. By reading their book, we, too, are challenged To Dare Mighty Things