Those Rebels, John and Tom

Barbara Kerley contrasts and compares John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in this appealing new book. She begins with their childhoods and shows how in many fundamental ways John and Tom were opposites (upbringing, personalities, occupations when they were older). She then shows how they each were fundamental in the decision of the colonies to separate from England and how each had unique gifts that were needed by the new country.

We had already read a lot of books about this particular time period when I checked this out of the library so there wasn’t a lot of new information for us. Even so, John went and got it off the shelf and read it on his own without my knowledge. In all honesty, I think he judged the book by its cover and the bright primary colored cartoon-like illustrations are part of its appeal.

At first, I was put off by the use of frequent quotation marks. It took me awhile to realize that the author was actually quoting from Adams and Jefferson’s own writings rather than just using quotation marks to be cute (like air quotes).  Once I realized, I appreciated her use of their own words. Kerley doesn’t shy away from the Jefferson and slavery issue and gives it a fair treatment. She doesn’t include the feud between Adams and Jefferson later in life in the main part of the book but does include a page at the end that gives a summary of their relationship after the Revolution.

All in all, a nice new addition to the juvenile history section.

Stop by Rasco at RIF for more Nonfiction Monday.

5 thoughts on “Those Rebels, John and Tom


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