cover image 1787


Joan Anderson. Harcourt Children's Books, $14.95 (200pp) ISBN 978-0-15-200582-5

This book almost achieves the impossible: combining a story of romance with the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Wealthy Jared Mifflin and Hetty Morris are in love. But after Jared is assigned to be James Madison's assistant, he has hardly any leisure time. Jared's summer job both challenges and bores him, making him see the evils of slavery and disparities of class in Philadelphia for the first time. But Jared and Hetty are little more than ""witnesses to history.'' Lively in its depiction of the period, 1787 is not plotted strongly enough to succeed as fiction. This is too bad, since Jared's observations of the Conventionits issues and delegateshave immediacy and warmth. Ages 10-up. (April)