With the goal of boosting interest in George Washington, in 2005 Mount Vernon commissioned three life-size reproductions of him at ages 19, 45 and 57.Â Enthusiastic prose and informative photographs convey in considerable detail the work on this project by a variety of experts, including sculptors, archaeologists, historians, dentists, painters, taxidermists and more.Â The process entailed extensive research, up-to-date technology such as laser scanners and age-old techniques of leatherwork and hand-sewing to form and clothe the lifelike figures now on display.Â Even one of his horses, Blueskin, was meticulously re-created. Chapters on the reconstruction alternate with biographical chapters about the corresponding years in Washington's life, when he was a young surveyor and soldier, Revolutionary general presiding over early battles and Valley Forge and incoming president.Â Quotations from Washington and his contemporaries add a personal note, while reproductions of portraits, statues and artifacts supply visual interest.Â Color photographs show some of the steps in the reconstruction. The narrow focus makes this handsome volume likely to appeal to visitors to Mount Vernon or those with a special interest in Washington or in such reconstructions.Â Suggestions for further age-appropriate reading supplement an extensive bibliography. (timeline, source notes, websites, index) (Nonfiction. 11-14)Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Gr 6 Up--The image of Washington that most people know is the version of the Gilbert Stuart portrait on the one dollar bill. That stiff-looking visage is disapproving and more than a bit dyspeptic. But is that rendition accurate? Not according to the team of forensic anthropologists and artists hired by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association to create life-sized re-creations of Washington as he looked at pivotal moments in his life: as a 19-year-old surveyor, a 45-year-old general of the Continental Army, and taking the oath of office at 57 as President of the United States. This interestingly and intelligently written book alternates chapters detailing the reconstruction process with Washington's biography, making the changes in his appearance understandable as a function of his life experience and, of course, the history of the American Revolution and establishment of our democracy is limned simultaneously. The full-color images are excellent throughout and are astounding when showing the wax reconstructions. The reading level aims this at middle and high school readers, but the format looks younger. Thus, some promoting may be necessary. It's worth it, however, for its excellent revitalization of a man often reduced to a lifeless icon. There's an exemplary (and extensive) print bibliography, listing books, primary-source documents, articles, theses, DVDs, and interviews. Further reading suggestions and a list of websites, as well as a comprehensive and accurate index are appended. A stellar addition to most libraries.--Ann Welton, Helen B. Stafford Elementary, Tacoma, WA[Page 134]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.