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George Washington's Birthday: A Mostly True Tale
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George Washington's Birthday: A Mostly True Tale

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  183 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
From award-winning author Margaret McNamara and New Yorker artist Barry Blitt comes this partly true and completely funny story of George Washington's 7th birthday. In this clever approach to history, readers will discover the truths and myths about George Washington. Did George Washington wear a wig? No. Did George Washington cut down a cherry tree? Probably not. Readers ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published January 10th 2012 by Schwartz & Wade (first published January 1st 2012)
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This may be my favorite of all the books about presidents I've ever read. It's cute and funny and has some terrific lines that will fly right over the heads of its intended audience but that I loved. When his older brother instructs him in his schoolwork, George mutters "Tyrant" under his breath. Love it.

George wakes up the morning of his seventh birthday and wishes himself a happy birthday--which is good because it seems no one else remembers. His mother serves him breakfast without a word abou
Stephanie Croaning
This book is an interesting combination of a fictional story about George Washington on his 7th birthday, and facts about the man and his life. McNamara has combined factual information with myths from George Washington's life and presented them all in the course of this one day. For example, she shows what kind of student he was, as well as including the cherry tree chopping myth. The illustrations fit the story well in their style, but aren't compelling to young readers.

As an adult reader, I u
Mar 22, 2015 Angela rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
There are a LOT of myths out there about George Washington! Let's go back to when he was just a 7-year-old boy, it's his birthday and we are about to debunk some of these myths!
What a fun book about a guy who usually seems to be kind of boring!
The illustrations are quite funny--what 7-year-old wore a white, powdered wig?!
The story of George's birthday is told in the context of everyone forgetting that it's his special day. What makes it really fun and informative is the little FACT callout bo
Apr 27, 2013 Liz rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-for-blog
I like to have strong feelings about a book, either positive or negative, when I review that book. George Washington's Birthday has been on my shelf for several months. I read it when I first received it and thought “meh.” Today I set out to write a review of the book. I’m still having the “meh” reaction.

The book is about George Washington's seventh birthday. No one in his family seems to know or care that it's his birthday. That's the plot for “Sixteen Candles,” the 1984 John Hughes film. It do
Kristin McIlhagga
Jan 07, 2012 Kristin McIlhagga rated it really liked it
This fictional biography is a lovely addition to the books that I will be sharing with my children's literature course.
The text of the very first pages invites readers of all ages to connect with this giant of an American historical figure with the sentence, "When George Washing went to sleep Friday night, he was six years old. When he woke up on Saturday he was seven."

The whimsical water color and pen illustrations by Barry Blitt and include subtle references iconic Washington items throughou
In this charmingly illustrated picture book, Margaret McNamara describes George Washington's fictional 7th birthday. The multigenre text includes an obviously (to adults) fictionalized account of the day along with fact boxes to clear up what really happened.

This would be a great text to use to introduce children to the idea of historical fiction and reality versus story/legend. Ultimately, I don't care for it because it reinforces so many commonly held misconceptions about Washington. He didn't
Courtney Siepman
Dec 14, 2015 Courtney Siepman rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this hybrid book! The storyline was creative and I enjoyed the factual information along the way. This book could be used when learning about the presidents, and more specifically George Washington. It would provide a funny read to go alongside the more content-based books about George Washington.
Aug 29, 2012 Tracie rated it really liked it
Young George Washington is excited to turn 7, but his family is so busy that it seems they don't even notice. Will anyone ever remember George Washington's birthday?

This is a cute story, and a perfect introduction to George Washington. What I really admire about this book is that it is self-conscious: text boxes and a follow-up note help the reader differentiate the "facts" from the "fiction." Share this book in the classroom around Presidents' Day, and engage young readers in a discussion about
Kristina Silverbears
Sep 11, 2014 Kristina Silverbears rated it really liked it
Shelves: babies
A great history book for children. President Washington is really accessible as a seven year old boy. I particularly liked the myth/fact bubbles. Worth a read and long enough that it felt worthwhile.
Brittany Morgan
Sep 05, 2015 Brittany Morgan rated it it was amazing
Great story, very funny! I loved the fact and myth boxes within the book. The illustrations were absolutely remarkable! I cannot wait to read this to my class!
Jenny Sharpe
Dec 13, 2015 Jenny Sharpe rated it it was amazing
This book is a great hybrid. It shows a fun story of George Washington while telling fun facts about him separated throughout.
Mar 23, 2014 Anthony rated it it was amazing
I like that even though this book is called a mostly true tale, it lets you know which parts are not true.
Nitza Campos
Feb 21, 2014 Nitza Campos rated it really liked it
Shelves: grades-1-3
Fiction story with fact boxes thrown throughout.
Jun 29, 2013 Shannon rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
I'd love to study this book alongside JOHN, PAUL, GEORGE, AND BEN to talk about historical legends. This book has one of the best Historical Notes at the end that I've read in a while, told from George Washington's point of view. Each spread includes a FACT box telling what parts of the story are pulled from historical documents.

I support independent bookstores. You can use this link to find one near you or order GEORGE WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY on IndieBound:
Brooke Camera
Mar 29, 2016 Brooke Camera rated it it was amazing
Shelves: edu-365
This is a good book to read out loud to elementary students when they are learning about the presidents. This is developmentally appropriate for elementary students to learn about the life of George Washington. It puts the life of George Washington in a fun way for students. As a teacher, you can do many fun activities with this book to learn about who George Washington was growing up.
Jul 20, 2014 Tam rated it liked it
Shelves: birthday, educational
The inside cover said this book is for ages 4 - 8. Most pages have a little side note saying if something is a fact or a myth. The end of the book has a page written as if George wrote it. It gave more information about his life. It also had a list of things he said like: Think before you speak. When you sit down, keep your feet firm and even; keep your nails clean and short; etc. He really did write a list that he called "110 Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior".

Aug 29, 2011 Angela rated it liked it
Oh how I miss The 39 Apartments of Ludwig Van Beethoven! Blitt's illustrations brought back my emotional attachement to the book in an instant.

This is no replacement, but it's certainly a welcome book. An interesting combination of fact and fiction. Should be good for schools, classrooms and one that helps bring down-to-earth Presidental birthdays.

Pair with Lane Smith's John, Paul, George and Ben and Anne Rockwell's President's Day for a winning trio.

Sean Fowler
Dec 06, 2014 Sean Fowler rated it it was amazing
This book was a fun look at a young version of Washington. The book tell of many tales we all know of Washington, such as him chopping down the apple tree. The simple narrative of the book makes it easy to read for those at a young age. The illustrations in the book were terrific. There was so much going on in every page. This is a great book to use as a start to learning about our first president.
Feb 10, 2013 Angie rated it liked it
Shelves: picture
Hmmm. Other people liked this more than I did.
Just sort of confusing. Why write a picture book that mixes so much fact and fiction? Kids will get confused. Is it true or is it not?

Not a fan of the illustration style, either.

That said ... I did not know that G.W. wrote a list of things he needed to remember to be a gentleman. Or that he didn't have much in the way of formal schooling ... mostly just his older half-brother.
Oct 21, 2013 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This cute introduction to the early life of George Washington is a great addition to any picture book collection on Presidents. The book is mostly true, but there are wonderful inserts on each page that give true facts about George Washington, and how some of the legends surrounding him came to be. The watercolor's used to create these caricature style illustrations are engaging and students will find them inviting.
Mar 08, 2012 Alice rated it really liked it
This book is fiction, but has some non-fiction qualities. It tells a story about a 7 year old George Washington and talks about facts,myths and rumors about G.W.'s life. I think it could still be used for a report for a upper elementary student. The last page of the book is the 'truth' about G.W. as if G.W. was telling it. Very interesting!
Mattathias Westwood
This is a strange book-- it's partly an exploration of myth and reality in the life of George Washington, partly just a story about a young boy who thinks his family has forgotten his birthday that has nothing to do with George Washington at all. The end includes a section that divides fact from fiction for George Washington's life.
This was a great way to introduce facts about George Washington, while still allowing your students to find enjoyment through the story like feel. I would use this in the classroom for a social studies lesson. The only draw back is it was lengthy, and there was a lot of text! It was still worth reading and using in the classroom.
Aug 16, 2012 Jodie rated it liked it
This story addresses some facts and myths about George. The story takes place on George's 7th birthday, but the facts and myths come throughout his life (the title does state that it is a mostly true tale). Teachers could use this book around President's Day or when teaching about George Washington and the Revolutionary War.
Nancy Jo Lambert
I thought this was a very good picture book that I can easily see reading and using in the library. This will definitely one to get! I liked the illustrations, the cute and funny story. I liked all the facts and the bio at the end as well. A very nice picture book that is both fun and informational. Hard to do!
Read  Ribbet
Actually more of a hybrid as its subtitle implies. Cleverly told tale about GW as a 7 year old celebrating his birthday -- a birthday everyone would celebrate in the future. Kids will enjoy seeing George as a kid and interesting facts are woven in and out. Good title to use on that special day.
Tim Sheppard
Feb 01, 2012 Tim Sheppard rated it really liked it
This is the way to learn history. I would almost recommend this to the high school kids in my school. They could maybe even make a picture book of their own for a history project. I appreciate the focus on good virtue as well. It is needed boys and girls alike these days.
Katie Glenn
I love that this book can open up a conversation about history and the presidents. This book is very engaging for young readers. I also like that this book can introduce tall tales to students because it is clear what is true and what is false within the text.
Both facts and myths about George Washington. For example, did George Washington wear a wig? Did he really chop down that cherry tree? How did George Washington celebrate his birthday?

A great read to explain why we celebrate President's Day.
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Margaret McNamara is the Christopher Award–winning author of more than two dozen books for young readers, including the Robin Hill School series. The Fairy Bell Sisters series is inspired not only by her love of the classic sisterhood novel Little Women but by her own experiences growing up with older sisters (and a baby brother). Margaret and her family live in New York City, but they spend part ...more
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