Thursday, September 23, 2010

Middle-Grade Review: George Washington’s Socks

I always enjoy time-travel stories, so I was interested to hear that a middle-grade time-travel adventure published in the 90’s, George Washington’s Socks by Elvira Woodruff, was being re-released this fall.  This mix of history and adventure will appeal to kids who enjoyed but have outgrown The Magic Tree House series.

Matt and his three friends have started an Adventure Club and plan to have an overnight camp-out.  Matt’s little sister, Katie, comes along as well, and the group settles in for the night in Tony’s backyard.  Their plan is to take turns reading adventure stories out of a book, starting with a story about George Washington crossing the Delaware River during the Revolutionary War.  Looking for a little extra adventure, the group wanders out of the backyard and, with some unexpected twists, finds themselves sent back in time and with more adventure than they’d bargained for:

As he stood staring from the old rowboat, Matt couldn’t take his eyes off the man who had rescued her [Katie].  He was a tall imposing figure in a blue and buff uniform.  Matt had the strange feeling that he knew the man, for his figure was unmistakable, with his white hair rolled on the sides, and tied in the back with a ribbon.  His face was strong and proud.  It was the face of a leader, the face of a determined man.  His eyes stared straight into Matt’s, as if one commander had recognized another.  It took all of Matt’s courage to speak.

“My…sister.  Is she all right?”

“The child is alive.  No harm will come to her.”

“Who…who are you?” Matt stammered.

“General George Washington, Leader of the Continental Troops,” came the firm reply.

The historical part of the book (which is most of it) is filled with fascinating details of the time and place.  It provides a realistic portrayal of war and the challenges faced by the soldiers during that treacherous winter (some of which might be too disturbing for younger kids).  The modern scenes are less vivid, with a nostalgic, innocent feel that seems to take place much earlier than the 1990’s.  Readers who enjoy historical fiction or adventure stories will enjoy this book.  I think my 12-year old son will like it, even though it’s a bit below his reading level.  A sequel, George Washington’s Spy, will be released in November.

166 pages, Scholastic

Accelerated Reader level 5.0, 6 points

Recommended for ages 9 – 12.


1 comment:

Jan von Harz said...

Thanks for the review, I had never heard of this book before, but I imagine it can be found in the elementary libraries, which I do not have access to.