Reviews for Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims : Time-Travel Adventures With Exceptional Americans

Booklist Reviews 2014 March #1
There are a lot of things wrong with Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims. But, first, the good news: mostly--with some exceptions--dates, names, and places aren't a problem. Context, however, is in the eyes of the beholder. But let's begin with the opening author's note. After offering a wide-ranging definition of American exceptionalism that begins with the statement that the U.S. is a "land built on true freedom and individual liberty, and it defends both around the world," Limbaugh goes on to explain that the Founders believed all people were born to be "free as individuals." Really? All people? That should give anyone pause who knows something about history. Then it's on to the narrative. The book's premise is that a substitute history teacher, Rush Revere, who dresses like his hero, Paul, along with his talking horse, Liberty, can go back in time. This takeoff on the Magic School Bus and Magic Tree House series has none of their charm. The text is wordy, and many of the pages are spent on the banter between Rush and Liberty, occasionally amusing but mostly just filling space, as do the tedious explanations of the way time travel works. The actual historical episodes are marked by commentary. For instance, Rush Revere watches the passengers on the Mayflower and notes that "the hardship they experienced . . . is something modern-day people will seldom, if ever, experience. . . . They hadn't been spoiled by wall-to-wall carpets, central heating and microwave ovens." The fact that many modern-day people do experience incredible hardships, albeit different from the Pilgrims, seems not to have occurred to Limbaugh. And let's not forget the cross-branding. The images of Rush Revere throughout the book are the same as Limbaugh's logos used on his Two if by Tea website, where he sells, yes, tea. The book ends with the first Thanksgiving. Apparently, the turnaround for the struggling colony came "when every family was assigned its own plot of land to work." Rush Revere drives home the point that it was after the Pilgrims stopped sharing the profits that success was ensured. Even Squanto adds, "No more slaves to the Common House." As for factual inaccuracies, Paul Revere never said, "The British are coming!" That was Mr. Longfellow. Despite the book's numerous shortcomings--as history, as fiction, as comedy--it will generate demand in some libraries, thanks to the author's celebrity. Order only as that demand dictates. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2014 April #2
Supercool substitute teacher Rush Revere and his time-traveling horse, Liberty, take two students to 1620 to meet such exceptional Americans as William Bradford and Squanto. In a series of jumps, the amiable Rush takes football player and closet nerd Tommy and pretty, soft-spoken, dark-skinned Freedom (possibly Native American) to such significant moments as the Mayflower's embarkation from England, its landing at Plymouth and the first Thanksgiving. In their encounters, they learn about the Pilgrims' quest for religious freedom, the difficult conditions they faced both onboard and in the New World, and how the fledgling colony's relations with the local Native Americans were established. The presentation of history adheres to the standard narrative presented in classrooms for decades throughout the 20th century. Readers looking for Limbaugh's politics won't have to search hard. Tommy and Rush school Bradford in the values of competition and individualism, while Bradford and Squanto give thanks to God for seeing them through adversity. The storytelling that carries history, adventure and politics is breathtakingly inept. The rules governing both time travel and Liberty's remarkable powers are both inconsistent and so arbitrarily convenient they feel as though they were made up as the author went along. Rush and the children's interactions with historical figures are thoroughly wooden and elide the basic rules of the genre; Bradford never questions Rush's late-18th-century getup, for instance, and is stupendously incurious about their monthslong absences. The prose never rises above amateurish and often reads as though written by the middle school students Rush teaches: "Tommy plopped down on a random deskā€¦." Although the faux parchment pages catch the eye, illustration, design and even proofreading (Samoset is consistently misspelled "Somoset" in the text though not in captions or the author's note) are as rudimentary and slipshod as the prose. The ever hungry Liberty provides needed, if lame, comic relief. A closing quiz leads readers to the website for answers. Exceptionally bad. (Fantasy. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.