Rush Revere is a middle school substitute history teacher/time traveler. With the help of his time traveling horse, Liberty, he takes his students back into the past to witness important events in American history and to meet historical figures. In this book (#2 in the series, I didn't read #1 and I don't think it is very important to read them in order) Rush Revere takes the kids to key events that preceded the Revolutionary War. They meet John Hancock, Ben Franklin, Samuel Adams, and Paul Revere. They witness the Boston Tea Party, the First Continental Congress and other events. During each visit a famous historical figure teaches one of the children a valuable life lesson.
This is not great literature. It is mostly a history lesson, sugar coated with some humor and fantasy elements, and loaded with super-patriotic flag-waving propaganda. The reason I read the book is because I look at Publisher's Weekly fairly regularly to see which are the top 20 selling children's books of the week. It has been astounding to me that during the past year these Rush Revere books (I think there are currently 4 titles) have been on the list over and over again. Lots of people are buying these and giving them to kids. Is it the schools, or is it parents in an effort to "make learning fun?"
I am not sure what to think of this book. On the one hand the story was mildly entertaining and I did get a refresher course on some historical facts. On the other hand, they are so unabashedly bias, didactic and right-winged. There is no balance, and there is no exploration into the real complexity behind the characters or events portrayed. It is all, "Hooray for America" and "Aren't the Founding Fathers wonderful." I guess they are as good as a grade school text books, which also give only superficial, slanted portrayals of history. They are probably slightly more entertaining than text books. So, if your kid is struggling with American history, go ahead, give them a try. (256 p)