Dolley Madison Saves George Washington
Dolley Madison Saves George Washington
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Annotation: With the war getting closer to her home with each passing day, Dolley Madison fears that the time has come to move away, but refusing to let the English destroy her portrait of George Washington, she takes it with her and saves a piece of American history in the process.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #4458241
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition Date: 2007
Pages: 32
Availability: Out of Print
ISBN: 0-618-41199-2
ISBN 13: 978-0-618-41199-3
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2006009813
Dimensions: 24 x 29 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
CeCe McGill struggles to understand why her cantankerous father would sacrifice his life to aid slaves traveling the Underground Railroad. While accompanying her uncle to plantations in pre–Civil War Georgia, CeCe begins to appreciate her family's ideals. Rinaldi's narrative addresses head-on the atrocities of slavery and one young woman's urgency to help free those in bondage. An author's note gives background information. Bib.
Kirkus Reviews
Brown continues his string of exemplary biographies for younger readers with this profile of the most charming, charismatic and intrepid first lady ever. Between shorter looks at Dolley Madison's earlier and later life, he focuses on her leading role in Washington society and her courage during the War of 1812. After the soldiers who were supposed to guard the presidential mansion fled, she lingered to make sure that a life-sized Gilbert Stuart portrait of Washington was removed before the occupying British could destroy it, and then disguised herself as a farm woman to get away. In the watercolor illustrations, her smiling good nature and exotic attire come through clearly in brighter days, and in darker, she radiates a sturdy presence even in plainer garb. Her altogether admirable tale makes a terrific lead-in to the likes of Robert Quackenbush's James Madison and Dolley Madison and Their Times (1992). (author's note, note on Stuart, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-9)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4 Known for her "beauty, her stunning gowns, and her delightful banquets," Dolley Madison first served as the premier Washington, DC, hostess while her husband, James Madison, was secretary of state under Thomas Jefferson because the president was a widower. She continued to throw "wonderful dinner parties" during her husband's subsequent eight-year presidency. While First Lady, she redecorated the President's Mansion, ensuring that Gilbert Stuart's portrait of George Washington was prominently displayed. However, it was during the War of 1812 that she earned the gratitude of her nation when, despite the fact that the 100 soldiers assigned to protect the mansion ran off, she bravely remained behind to make sure that the painting as well as important government documents were saved from otherwise certain destruction by British forces. Pen and ink and watercolors effectively depict the simplicity and roughness of Colonial life and convey with humor the spirit of the time and characters; however, the facial features are for the most part bland. An author's note provides additional information about Stuart and Dolley Madison. Readers will enjoy this exciting picture-book biography of an important First Lady. Kirsten Cutler, Sonoma County Library, CA
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Brown has made something of a cottage industry providing children with lively biographies of figures as diverse as Mary Anning and Neil Armstrong. Here he focuses on Dolley Madison, who grew up as a simple farm girl, married James Madison, and later became a hostess for widower Thomas Jefferson. Dashing line-and-watercolor artwork captures the flair of the woman "who had a smile and a pleasant word for everybody," but who shows her mettle in 1814, when the British attack the White House. The soldiers guarding the house flee, but Dolley refuses to leave until a valuable painting of George Washington is saved with the help of other citizens. Although Brown might have used this high point to end the book, to his credit, he extends the text, showing the anger and fear of the populace as the battle rages. A powerful spread shows women shaking their fists at Dolley, a surrogate for the president, on whom they blame the war. A last page shows Dolley surrounded by cameos of the first 11 presidents, all of whom Dolley knew, while an author's note gives more information about her. A sure-handed wedding of text and art that brings history to life. A brief bibliography is appended.
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review ALA Booklist (9/1/07)
ALA Booklist (9/1/07)
Horn Book (4/1/08)
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal (9/1/07)
Wilson's Children's Catalog
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 1,440
Reading Level: 5.9
Interest Level: 1-4
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.9 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 118651 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:6.4 / points:3.0 / quiz:Q43055
Lexile: NC920L

Dolley was a farm girl who became a fine first lady when she married James Madison. She wore beautiful dresses, decorated her home, and threw lavish parties. Everyone talked about Dolley, and everyone loved her, too. Then war arrived at her doorstep, and Dolley had to meet challenges greater than she'd ever known. So Dolley did one thing she thought might make a difference: she saved George Washington. Not the man himself, but a portrait of him, which would surely have been destroyedby English soldiers. Don Brown once again deftly tells a little known story about a woman who made a significant contribution to American history.

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