cover image Haym Salomon: American Patriot

Haym Salomon: American Patriot

Susan Goldman Rubin, , illus. by David Slonim. . Abrams, $16.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-1087-4

Rubin's (L'Chaim!: To Jewish Life in America ) picture-book biography sheds light on Haym Salomon, a Jewish Polish emigrant credited with being the "Financier of the American Revolution." A polyglot with a wealth of experience in European banking, he put his knowledge to work in America raising funds for the impoverished American soldiers and establishing the Bank of North America to serve the fledging republic. Salomon was no colonial-period number cruncher: he was a member of the underground patriot group Sons of Liberty, he escaped from British custody (and a death sentence) and then helped others do so, and he once turned Yom Kippur services at Congregation Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia into a kind of bond drive for the troops. Rubin admits in her lively, scrupulous afterword that factual information on Salomon is scarce, but she does a fine job of imbuing her hero's story with a sense of drama and urgency. As always, Slonim (He Came with the Couch ) uses color and texture to great effect, and his historical details (setting, dress) are spot-on; but his rounded cartoon-style characters might seem more at home in a Chelm story than in this biography. Although the paintings' humorous tone feels slightly at odds with the earnestness and relative sophistication of Rubin's text, the artwork does pump up the child appeal. Ages 6-10. (Apr.)