cover image George: George Washington, 
Our Founding Father

George: George Washington, Our Founding Father

Frank Keating, illus. by Mike Wimmer. S&S/Wiseman, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4169-5482-8

In the second installment of the Mount Rushmore series (after Theodore) Keating—the former governor of Oklahoma—and Wimmer offer an accessible and graphically stunning picture book biography of the first president of the United States. Wimmer’s remarkably lifelike oil paintings of Washington as a schoolboy, surveyor, soldier, father, and politician are accompanied by a spare, impressionistic first-person narrative, studded with Washington’s actual quotes. Reproduced on simulated parchment pages, the text also includes quotations, printed in a script font to resemble handwriting, from the “Rules of Civility,” which Washington copied as a boy and which became his “primer on life.” The book reads as an aggregation of memories, not always smoothly linked. After a quick description of Washington’s civilian life (“When I left school, I became a surveyor. I was also a blacksmith and a carpenter”) and his devotion to the “Rules,” the narrative leaps to his military career, referenced in vague terms (“In my twenties I was in the midst of the action. I was a major of militia”). For newcomers to American history, it’s an insightful if sometimes choppy portrait of a very human Washington. Ages 6–9. (Jan.)