cover image Most Wanted: The Revolutionary Partnership of John Hancock & Samuel Adams

Most Wanted: The Revolutionary Partnership of John Hancock & Samuel Adams

Sarah Jane Marsh, illus. by Edwin Fotheringham. Disney-Hyperion, $19.99 (80p) ISBN 978-1-368-02683-3

Marsh and Fotheringham (Thomas Paine and the Dangerous Word) pair up again for an engaging and thoroughly researched glimpse into key figures from the Revolutionary War era. Opening spreads alliteratively point out distinctions between two famous Bostonians: affluent businessman John Hancock (“He loved parties and peach trees! He loved praise and personal attention!”) and the less wealthy, more political Samuel Adams (“He strode around town talking politics with silversmiths and sailors, wigmakers and whalers”). The narrative’s playful, direct style and Fotheringham’s trademark cartoon illustrations—in which facial expressions rule and oversize quill pens take on a life of their own—detail the duo’s unlikely partnership and their rebellious acts, which made them wanted men to the English. Marsh appends the story with more historical details, as well as a mea culpa: “The origin story of the U.S. is complex and contradictory. And it is not all to be celebrated,” she writes. Noting that her traditional account leaves out stories of the marginalized, including enslaved people, Native Americans, and women, she invites readers to question her perspective and “engage critically with the text.” A timeline, extensive source notes, and a bibliography wrap up a tale that, while admittedly limited in scope, shows that the study of history can be anything but boring. Ages 6–10. [em]Author’s agent: Caryn Wiseman, Andrea Brown Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Pat Hackett, Pat Hackett Artist Representative. (Mar.) [/em]