By Barbara Kerley, Illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham
Scholastic Press, $17.99, 48 pages
Those Rebels, John & Tom is “the true story of how one gentleman – short and stout – and another – tall and lean – formed a surprising alliance, committed treason, and helped launch a new nation.” Author Barbara Kerley and illustrator Edwin Fotheringham have teamed up to provide kids with a fascinating introduction to John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. The book takes readers on a journey through the lives of these famous men. Learn about their childhoods, school years, first jobs, frustrations with the British, experience at the Continental Congress and how they both came to sign the Declaration of Independence. Kerley relates the story of two early American presidents with tremendous wit and style. The text is poetic with wonderful rhythm, and Kerley’s ironic humor is refreshing for such a potentially serious and stuffy topic. Fotheringham’s full-page, vibrant artwork illustrates the story in a fun and metaphorical way. The characters all have superbly emotive expressions. The book follows a children’s book format, but the vocabulary used is more appropriate for tweens.
Reviewed by Andrea Klein