Worst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the True Story of an American Feud
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Worst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the True Story of an American Feud

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4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  347 ratings  ·  103 reviews
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were good friends with very different personalities. But their differing views on how to run the newly created United States turned them into the worst of friends. They each became leaders of opposing political parties, and their rivalry followed them to the White House. Full of both history and humor, this is the story of two of America's m...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published December 8th 2011 by Dutton Juvenile
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Elizabeth
This is one of those books I had to read for work, but I would have read anyway because it is historical (so one of the reasons I'm writing this review is so I can remember what I thought about it when it is time to talk about it at work!). I really liked this book, partially because I really like the story of how John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were so close, grew apart, and then came back together in the end. This story is written simply so that you don't have to have any previous knowledge of...more
Megumi Shavers
This book is a nonfiction and is for children for the age group of P. This book did not win any awards. This book is about Thomas Jefferson and John Adams being best friends and how their political views of how the United States should be ran ruined their friendship. However, they learned to put aside their political differences for their friendship.This story was humorous and I actually learned a lot about Jefferson and Adams that I didn't know before. The theme to this story is a good one that...more
Andrea
Politics brought John Adams and Thomas Jefferson together. It also tore them apart. In Worst of Friends, Suzanne Tripp Jurmain captures the deep friendship between them, the political differences that severed that friendship and the eventual reconciliation.

Larry Day’s illustrations complement Jurmain’s writing beautifully. They capture both the seriousness and the humour in this tale. Facial expressions reign supreme whether they are facing off across a table or young children are gazing at thei...more
Linden
Apr 07, 2014 Linden rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Second graders as a read-aloud, and up for independent readers
Recommended to Linden by: it's nomination by the CA Y R M people

While I love to write reviews of what I've been reading, I seldom do of all the children's books that pass through my hands. Worst of Friends by Jurmain demanded I do so, for several reasons.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams--contemporaries, presidents, leaders of the conversations and debates that shaped our country--were "as different as pickles and ice cream" though that didn't stop them from being close friends. Until it did.

The book was one of the Picture Books for Older Readers in the Cali...more
Crystal
I LOVED this book!! Party politics are not new, they are as old as our country. This is a great book for teaching kids lots of things:
1. You can still be friends with someone even if you have different opinions.
2. Don't waste your life fighting about differing opinions!
3. Presidents of our country are always vilified while in office, so it is important to get the real story and understand how complex people's opinions are.
4. History is SO subjective.
5. Current events are SO subjective.

Mickie
I don't usually add picture books to my good reads, but man this is such a great book. I love it. The feud between TJ and JA is legendary and so is their make-up and eventual death within hours of each other on July 4, 1826.
I loved how sweetly the book contrasted and compared the two men who both added much to the discourse of what makes a good government and more enigmatically, what makes a good American.
Kate Hastings
Grades 2-5. An interesting look back on two of our founding fathers who were great friends and then had a falling out over different ideas about presidential power. This would be a good book to present during a unit about the constitution, presidents or political parties. Also a great tie into character development surrounding themes of respect and tolerance.
Kris Patrick
Typically I'd drool at a kids' book that marries American Revolution with adorable pen & watercolor illustrations but I didn't get the point...
Lynne
I have to admit that I had a predisposition to like this book….it's about Thomas Jefferson (one of my favorite historical figures) and a time period I read about often. The art is wonderful. What I really liked about the book in the end is that it is about friendship and learning that you don't have to agree on everything to be friends with someone. Jefferson and Adams were the best of friends and the worst of enemies at various times through their lives. In the end, they discovered that their d...more
Edward Sullivan
A colorful, entertaining introduction to the tumultuous friendship between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
Heidi
This book provides a brief overview of the relationship between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. The two men were different in many ways, physical size, temperament, etc. But they shared a passionate belief in America's right to form her own government. But they differed greatly on presidential power and centralized government. This lead to the feud mentioned in the title. In this book, I think the details that I found the most interesting were the different ways Adams and Jefferson described ea...more
Becky
This is the story of the friendship of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. During the time of the Revolution, Jefferson and Adams were great friends. Adams was a great speaker, and Jefferson was a great writer. They worked together to help achieve American independence.

Then, in about 1790, the conversation about presidential power raised its head. Jefferson, a Republican, thought that the president should not have too much power - a strong president might take away the people's freedom. Adams, a F...more
Adriana Servin-cruz
One of the main aspects I really enjoyed about this picture-book, was the humorous tone it has throughout the book. The book initiates by describing the friendship between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. However, it does so by emphasizing to the audience how different they were by using statements spoken in third person such as, John was fat and Tom was thin, Tom was rich and John was not. This type of tone was implemented throughout the whole book and it is very entertaining. The author then d...more
Rachel Bormann
Audience: Primary

Genre: Suzanne Jurmain’s children’s book Worst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and the True Story of an American Feud is considered a historical nonfiction book. It satisfies the conditions of the nonfiction genre since its purpose is purely informative and it provides readers with true facts. It is considered historical nonfiction since Jurmain describes the events and lives of two U.S. Presidents in the 1800’s.

Award: School Library Journal Best Nonfiction: 2011

Summar...more
S. J.
*5 Stars*

Scorecard: (Out of 10)
* Quality of Writing - 9
* Pace - 8
* Plot development - 8
* Characters - 9
* Enjoyability - 10
* Insightfulness - 10
* Ease of Reading - 10
* Photos/Illustrations - 9
Final Score: 73/80 = 91%

*The Gush*

One can never be sure how a picture book concerning history will turn out but I simply couldn’t pass up the chance to learn more about these two men who helped build our country. I also knew (view spoiler)...more
Liz
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the best of friends while creating the Declaration of Independence and working towards independence from Britain. They were both ambassadors to European countries after the Revolutionary war, and in these roles they were also best of friends. However, when determining what kind of government the United States of America should have, they disagreed. They didn't disagree in a friendly way; they talked about each other behind each other's backs. They chose not t...more
Karin
Suzanne Tripp Jurmain takes a different approach to her picture book about Thomas Jefferson and John Adams than Barbara Kerley does in THOSE REBELS, JOHN & TOM. Jurmain briefly covers the facts about their involvement in the Declaration of Independence and the Revolutionary War and, instead, spends time on their lives after these volatile times in U.S. History.

Around 1790 is when Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had their major disagreement that led to their feud. They couldn't agree on the w...more
Angie
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams: friends, enemies, both? Exactly right. This is a delightful book that explores the relationship between Jefferson and Adams. They started out as the best of friends as they were shaping this country but they had a falling out over the role of the president and became enemies for many years. They then reconnected as older gentlemen and later died on the same day July 4, 1826. I thought it was really interesting that they were enemies during the time they were Pres...more
Jennifer
Great exploration of the Adams/Jefferson friendship and rivalry. I like the note at the front about "Can Presidents Be Pals?" but I was a little disappointed by the other extras. There's a "Selected Bibliography" at the beginning but it looks like the majority, if not all, of the sources are adult materials. Also, the quotes that are used throughout the text are not specifically sourced. However, the text is really engaging and covers not just the facts of the friendship, but also the concept th...more
J.D.
What a fantastic book! A great overview of the differences, both political and personal, that caused the long rift in the friendship of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. The pictures were great, and the story was good too--simple, but not dumbed down to the point it would insult the intelligence of older children. There's mention of the Revolution, of course, but also the war with France, which was prevented by Adams. The fact that event was mentioned really surprised and impressed me. Besides t...more
Zach
Audience: K-4, also anyone interested in American history and getting to know the more personal side of world leaders.

Appeal: This book details the friendship of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and the strain it went through during the formation of the United States and how they were torn apart by their differences of opinion but eventually forgave each other near the end of their lives. The book tells students that they can get along with people who disagree with them, and it is inspiring to r...more
Joella www.cinjoella.com
Ha! This was a good story about two presidents who were the "worst of friends." I think I liked the book so much because of the many things that have happened in politics for the last little while. The introduction made me laugh out loud. It gives quotes of what other presidents have said about each other. My favorite was:

"Andrew Jackson (who always had strong feelings) thought James Buchanan was such a big jerk, he wanted to make him ambassador to the North Pole."

Seriously, this is a book that...more
Christina
This tale of the friendship and feud of two American presidents is told in an easy-going conversational style. Illustrations are lively and on the humorous side. This story is very accessible to children. While focusing on friendship and how disagreements occur and are resolved, the reader is educated on American history. I certainly learned some unusual things from this book. I like how the reader is told “... Tom read his 6,707 books” while retired as John “... read his 3,200 books and wrote “...more
Joan
I wasn't particularly impressed with this book. On the other hand, I thought it was an interesting way to explain to kids how early in our history strong disagreements broke out about the best way to govern. Probably more detail would have helped: what were they fighting over? This was left in far too general terms and seemed to be of subordinate interest to the author. The author seemed to be mostly interested in pointing out that good friendships are important, a lesson more appropriate to the...more
Joanne
Story of the friendship between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, highlighting along the way American historical events such as the writing of the Declaration of Independence, their ambassadorship to England, and their presidencies. Also includes a fairly detailed - and for children, boring - explanation of Federalists vs. Republicans. The friends fall out over their views of how strong the president and government should be, run against each other for the presidency, and are estranged for years...more
Beth
A fun, conversational, educational picture book detailing the relationship between two Founding Fathers and their political divisions. I did wish the authors had credited the (fantastic!) quotes they used (maybe I missed that part somehow?). But my almost-eight-year-old read this and really liked it, and I caught my five-year-old thumbing through it, too. I learned quite a bit from the book, considering how short it is (somehow I think the whole Federalist vs. Republican thing will stick with me...more
Lindsey
This is a story about friendship, but of course I love that it puts US history in a palatable format for ELLs. A great book to introduce John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Also a wonderful book to begin the discussion of the "birth" or "creation" of the United States.

How could two presidents be both the best and worst of friends? Well, because they had respect for each other, but they also had very strong opinions, which happened to be different some of the time.

My favorite fact in here was that...more
Nitza Campos
I found this to be quite interesting and the pictures added some humor.
Jen
Apr 15, 2014 Jen added it
Super cute book about friendship and the founding fathers Jefferson and Adams.
Jezreel
This book was about John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, this book is an informational text and I highly recommend this book for young children. The book is a great picture book and has good informational facts about the two presidents. The presidents are friends in this book but they do feud with each other as well. The book is a comical book on how the two are very different in both their physical and ideological ways. The book will give students an interest to learn about their presidents and the...more
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