Reviews for Revolutionary Friends : General George Washington and the Marquis De Lafayette

Booklist Reviews 2013 April #1
*Starred Review* In 1777, the 19-year-old Marquis de Lafayette defied his king's orders and left France to fight for freedom in America. Though initially expecting little, Washington found the young French nobleman idealistic, courageous, and eager to learn everything he could from the general he idolized. Congress had refused to give Lafayette a command, but he proved his mettle at the Battle of Brandywine, where he rallied retreating troops and suffered a leg wound. The doctor was told by Washington to treat him as he would his son, "for I love him with the same affection." The picture-book story rather abruptly ends there, though the next three pages continue the vivid account of Washington and Lafayette's "revolutionary friendship" in an information-packed narrative, followed by detailed time lines of their lives. In addition, there are suggestions of places to visit, a source bibliography, and a glossary translating the French words and phrases sprinkled through the text. Short passages from Lafayette's letters and other writings appear in small, scroll-like boxes on some double-page spreads. Kozjan's illustrations, lively ink drawings digitally enhanced with color and subtle shading, will engage readers, as they bring the period settings to life. This oversize, handsome package will introduce a little-known aspect of the Revolutionary War history through pithy words and often dramatic pictures. It respects its audience as well as the historically significant friendship it portrays. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
This picture book chronicles the friendship of Washington and the French nobleman Lafayette during the American Revolution. Lafayette's deep affection and admiration for Washington are recorded, as well as Lafayette's military leadership and contributions to the American and French Revolutions. Full-page pen-and-ink illustrations, sidebars from Lafayette's writings, and extensive timelines of the lives of Washington and Lafayette accompany the informative text. Bib., glos.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 March #1
This effort to illuminate and explicate the affectionate relationship between George Washington and the Marquis de Lafayette, as well as its impact on United States history, is enthusiastic but perhaps ambitious for the format. The body of the work is presented as an illustrated narrative with interjections expressing Lafayette's point of view; focusing on a short period of time, it is relatively straightforward. Moved by news of the American Revolution, the young Marquis slips out of France at the age of 19 and sails to the New World to offer his services to Washington's army. Only tolerated at first (because earlier émigrés had not left a positive impression), Lafayette shows his mettle in the battle of Brandywine and forges a lifelong personal bond with the general he so admires. Castrovilla writes in a heightened, emotive voice punctuated by exclamations in French. Extensive backmatter provides additional details including, among other things, a description of the continuing connection between the two men, chronological outlines of their lives, a list of French phrases found in the text, a bibliography and a list of relevant historical sites. Kozjan's illustrations, pen and ink with digital color, reflect the action of the text effectively for the most part, though awkwardly drawn figures, both human and animal, and odd expressions distract in some cases. Of potential interest as curriculum support, this treatment requires advanced reading skills (or a grown-up) and a basic understanding of the historical context. (Informational picture book. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 March #2

The bond between two Revolutionary War heroes is the subject of this picture-book history from Castrovilla (By the Sword). The Marquis de Lafayette "adored America. And because Washington represented America, Lafayette idolized him." The cartoon-styled illustrations are notable for their animated facial expressions; Kozjan (Working Mummies) renders the "scrawny and young--and inexperienced" Marquis as ever eager, eyes wide as he "gawked in admiration" at Washington. The spreads also feature small scrolls with quotes from the French nobleman, while words and phrases in his native language punctuate the text ("Lafayette wanted a command. Burning to prove himself, he nagged Washington and Congress. S'il vous plaît!"). The narrative comes to an abrupt end when Lafayette is injured in battle, and Washington declares fatherly affection for his wounded friend; a text-heavy afterword continues the duo's tale up through Washington's death. Detailed timelines for both men's lives, a list of historical sites, an extensive bibliography, and a glossary of French phrases wrap up this look at an intense friendship that proved beneficial to both men and their countries' fledgling democracies. Ages 8-up. Illustrator's agent: Pippin Properies. (Apr.)¦

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 April

Gr 3-5--The Marquis de Lafayette is famous for helping George Washington and the Continental Army defeat the British. The idea of exploring the development of his relationship with the American general in picture-book form is intriguing, but while this version is long on historical content, it is short on flair. The research is admirable. Direct quotations from Lafayette are featured on almost every page, and lists of sources and places to visit, as well as time lines of the men's lives, provide excellent historical background. However, these figures do not come to life. The author concentrates on Lafayette arriving in America, becoming part of Washington's army, and proving his mettle at the Battle of Brandywine. The large illustrations end when Washington visits the wounded Lafayette and instructs the doctor to care for him "as if he were my son," demonstrating the real affection that developed between them. However, the account goes on for three more pages, illustrated by much smaller images. The awkward transition complicates the book's ability to find an audience. Younger readers who are drawn to the picture-book format may lose interest in the text-heavy later part, while older students studying the Revolutionary War may find the book too simplistic for their needs. The pen-and-ink illustrations with digital coloring are appealing for the most part, but they have an odd flatness that detracts from their overall effect. Spreads that should have depth and a vanishing point seem more one-dimensional than two. French phrases incorporated into the text are defined at the end of the book, not in context, which may be cumbersome for some readers.--Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA

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