I think this might be the best picture book I have ever seen.
It's the fab founding fathers, not the fab four!
The details are what make this book amazing.
When John Hancock writes his name on the blackboard, all the other signatures of his classmates (Sam, Hooper, Pinn, Oliver, Josiah, etc.) are not only names you would find on the declaration of independence, but each name is written in the correct handwriting for that name. Same goes for Thomas Jefferson's classmates' artwork - "Adam" is signed in the D.O.I. handwriting of John Adams, "Sherm" is Roger Sherman.
Thomas Jefferson ignores instructions to make birdhouses in favor of loftier architectural aspirations, and the picture shows him building Monticello in the background. Young Tom's "Declaration of Independence from Idiotic Classwork" is, of course, the actual Declaration of Independence, if you look closely.
As the title suggests, there are just a couple of oblique Beatles references.
The book concludes with each event detailed as either fact or fiction, lest one attempt to learn actual history from the tome. Paul Revere was really a member of a bell-ringing club at the Old North Church. Who knew?
And, just when you thought you'd found it all, on the very last page with all the fine print publication information and whatnot, at the very bottom, are these nuggets:
"I cannot live without books"
- Thomas Jefferson, principal founder of the Library of Congress
"If you would not be forgotten
As soon as you are dead and rotten,
Either write things worth reading,
Or do things worth the writing."
- Benjamin Franklin, founder of America's first lending library
Lane Smith is a genius. The stories are funny and full of historical facts, perfect for the children who don't like history but need to learn it anyways.
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