Monday, May 16, 2011

Nonfiction Monday: The Many Faces of George Washington

The Many Faces of George Washington: Remaking a Presidential Icon
by Carla Killough McClafferty
Lerner Publishing Group, 2011
Grades 5 and up
Reviewed from copy provided by publisher through NetGalley and personal copy.

None of the paintings of George Washington that most Americans are familiar with are considered truly accurate by many historians, this includes the painting used to create the image of Washington on the one-dollar bill.  In 2005, a group of historians, scientists, and skilled artisans at Mount Vernon decided to try to create life-size models of Washington at three major points in his life.  The book describes these efforts and the incredible amount of work that went into the creating of these three full-body representations of Washington.  The process required the efforts of many skilled individuals, including tailors, leather-workers, and computer programmers.  Numerous images and writings were examined to come up with every possible detail to add to the authenticity of the models.  The results are astounding.

This book is fantastic.  The mixture of events from Washington's life along with the science and history involved in the creation of the models is fascinating.  The writing is clear and crisp and easy to follow, and the photographs of the process provide a glimpse into this painstaking work.  I learned a lot from reading this book and plan to share it with my fifth grade students.  Highly recommended.

Other reviews of this book can be found at:

Laurie Thompson (includes an interview with the author)
Red Beard Reads
A Fuse #8 Production
Kiss the Book

 Nonfiction Monday is being hosted by Simply Science today.

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