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Those Rebels, John and Tom
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Those Rebels, John and Tom

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  275 ratings  ·  84 reviews
A brilliant portrait of two American heroes from the award-winning creators of The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy)!

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were very different.

John Adams was short and stout.
Thomas Jefferson was tall and lean.

John was argumentative and blunt.
Tom was soft-spoken and polite.

John sometimes got along with almost no one.
Tom got along with ju...more
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published January 1st 2012 by Scholastic Press
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Jim Erekson
The stylized characterization based on historical sources was interesting. In a simplistic way, the writing complicated Jefferson's slave ownership. A caricature of King George reminded me of the short Schoolhouse Rock "No More Kings" video, and when I looked it up on youtube it looks like a lot of the illustrations were quotations of the animation. There's an old caricature that might hint at the origins. My favorite thing was the contrast between Jefferson and Adams in the writing, and Fotheri...more
This is a wonderful story about the birth of America framed in the friendship of two of America's founders, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. I've been trying for weeks to find time to write an adequate review but it is not going to happen so suffice it to say this is one if the more satisfactory picture books on this subject that I've read (and I'm a big fan of this point in history) and I was very impressed with how well actual quotes from Tom and John are woven in. She manages to high...more
I enjoyed just about everything about this picture book biography that focuses on two of the nation's founding fathers, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. In her usual engaging writing style, the author enumerates the many differences between the two men, ranging from their height to their upbringing to the way they handled those around them. But she also shows clearly how those differences didn't matter all that much once they found common ground in their hatred of King George and their love for...more
Like Worst of Friends this covers the relationship between John Addams and Thomas Jefferson, but this focuses specifically on how the Declaration of Independence came to be and ends there. I found the backmatter to be much stronger here than in Worst of Friends with a page-long Author's Note, a facsimile of the Declaration of Independence, and direct and specific quotation sources. I thought the text was pretty good, but I found the main weakness to be the illustrations by Edwin Fotheringham. Th...more
Briana Nelson
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had many differences, but in one very important way they were the same because they both wanted the American colonies to be free!! I was very impressed with the illustrations in this story. I am typically not a fan of historical fiction, but I really enjoyed reading this story because of the graphics. The illustrations were bold, and really drew the reader in. Although this story was a children's story, I think the author should've gone a little lighter on the tex...more
Twin text: We the Kids, David Catrow, 2002

Twin Text: I chose We the Kids as the twin text for Those Rebels, John and Tom because the basis is about "those smart guys" who wrote the United States Constitution and Thomas Jefferson wrote the first draft. Although Adams was not present when the Constitution was debated and passed (he was in Great Britain during that particular Constitutional Congress), he was an integral part in the founding of our country. We the Kids is a fun story with lovely ill...more
Peter Besbeas
This book was an excellent approach on teaching children about John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. The two are considered heroes that put aside all of their many differences (differences clearly defined throughout the duration of the book) to fight for the freedom of the United States of America (American revolution). I really enjoyed this book. This book provided a wide variety of hilarious differences between the two men (John and Tom). This books animation style was another extremely large posit...more
Cari Williams
Those Rebels, John and Tom tells the story of two individuals who a very, very, different on the outside and even morally but come together despite their differences to fight for the same cause, independence. John is short and stout and Tom is tall and skinny. Regardless of their looks, they lived life differently and at times butted heads. John was very talkative and argumentative whereas Tom was shy and didn't like talking at all because of his shyness. John was a farmer and Tom was a layer. T...more
This is a very good book in my opinion. It tells the story of John and Tom who helped to write our constitution. These two men were very different, one was loud and loved to be the biggest voice in the room. The other was timid and quiet and enjoyed writing down is thoughts and observations. Together this pair came together and while one talked, the other wrote and this was a major par of why the constitution of the United States came to be. Aside from teaching children how important teamwork is...more
Karah Webb
This book explains to its young readers all about the lives of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. John and Tom grew up with very different lives. John was a little school-skipping troublemaker, who came from a family who lived on a farm. Tom’s life was very opposite of John’s; Tom grew up in a wealthy family where he valued his education very much. Both boys grew up realizing that they were particularly good at debating for and against things. This story compares both John and Tom’s life to each o...more
Lu Benke
Perhaps it was the color scheme of gold, red, blue and white and cartoonish faces for revered historical figures on the cover that put me off initially, but ultimately I thought this an insightful view of two friends helping to create the U.S. constitution. To begin with, showing the human side of two boys growing up and establishing them as Tom and John let me know there was going to be an emphasis on these two men's personalities and the comparing and contrasting between oral and written style...more
Another excellent children's non-fiction book by the dynamic duo of Kerley and Fotheringham. I love how they work together so well to bring people and events of the past to life for children! This time, they take two leaders of the American Revolution -- John Adams and Thomas Jefferson -- and tell their story. Written in language that will appeal to kids -- and using a variety of font sizes to emphasize names and phrases -- this would even make a good read aloud for an older group of students. W...more
Claudia Margaroli
I really enjoyed this book. It is about John Adams and Thomas Jefferson and more specifically their role in America’s independence. It includes not only facts about their political careers but also their personal lives and friendship which make them more relatable to their younger audience. The illustrations are interestingly done in only red, blue, and yellow which is very patriotic, which is obviously a common theme throughout the book. I enjoyed the passage about Thomas Jeffersons weapon, the...more
"The true story of how one gentleman - short and stout - and another - tall and lean - formed a surprising alliance, committed treason, and helped launch a new nation." Those Rebels, John and Tom is a book that is an accessible explanation of the difficulties of the Continental Congress in deciding whether to declare independence. It follows the contributions of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, explores their differences, and describes how the ultimately came together in their common goal. The s...more
Those Rebels, John & Tom is a biography for young children of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. The text focuses on how different the two men were in physical appearance, personality, and talent. The two men saw the value and the need for each other's talents to prepare the colonies for independence from England. An issue at the time of the writing of the Declaration of Independence was slavery of the black African people in the colonies.

I chose Phillis Sings Out Freedom by Ann Malaspina,@20...more
This picture book tells the story of how John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were instrumental to United States History. Beginning with their early years, Barbara Kerley highlights some major events that led each man to Philadelphia that fateful day in 1775 when the Declaration of Independence was finally signed.

THOSE REBELS, JOHN & TOM focuses mostly on how opposite they were from each other. In fact, it was pretty much the pattern of the whole book.

John skipped school to fly kites and shoot m...more
Those Rebels, John & Tom, written by Barbara Kerley and illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham is a fun children’s picture book that tells the kid-friendly version of the story of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

Throughout the book, John and Tom are continuously compared, and inside of the cover page it reads, “The true story of how one gentleman—short and stout—and another—tall and lean—formed a surprising alliance, committed treason, and helped launch a new nation.” I especially liked how the...more
Ashleigh Pollard
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were very different in nature, but had one thing in common, which was their love for the American Colonies. Both men were determined to fight for our country's freedom from King George, the leader of Britain. So, John used his power of persuasion and Tom used his skill of writing the Declaration of Independence to help lead our country to Independence on July 4, 1776. I was not a fan of the illustration style, but I felt the images fit well with the text. The illu...more
Another fun look at the important introvert/extrovert friendship between founders Thomas Jefferson and John Adams (see also: Worst of Friends: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and the True Story of an American Feud). I like the wordplay and limited-color illustration style in this one; it focuses more on the budding friendship of the two men as they crafted the Declaration of Independence, and only mentions their falling out in the thorough Author's Note. Their fighting and division of ideas after t...more
The Library Lady
I shouldn't have bought this because I wasn't crazy about Kerley's "Alice" book and I HATED the one with Suzy Clemens. And since this has come out right at the same time as the same time as Suzanne Tripp Jurmain's very similar (and far better) book Worst of EnemiesI can compare this and find it wanting.

The Jurmain book is just as engagingly written without becoming cutsey. The layout is clear and attractive. The color palette here jumps from one background to another from page to page making thi...more
Clara Bowman-Jahn
Why I loved it: The blend of history and biography is creative and imaginative. But Barbara Kerley made one important mistake. At the end of the book as the two friends were on their death beds she has them waiting for the fourth of July to die because that would be the birth of the country. In many other documents I have found that the birthday of America was the second of July and that we just celebrate it on the fourth. Otherwise the illustration and text are a marriage in heaven. I love how...more
Samantha Pendleton
This picture book is a fun way to introduce young children to American history. This book is about two of our founding fathers, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. These men are two clearly different people which can be seen from the beginning of the story where both of the men and infants. Although these men grew up with different hobbies and personalities they came together later in life because of the love they both shared for the American colonies. This well-illustrated picture book follows Joh...more
Julie Esanu
A look into the long friendship between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. Author Barbara Kerely begins the book by highlighting the differences between these two founding fathers. Adams came up from humble means opposed to Jefferson's silver spoon. Despite these differences, the two shared a passion for the colonies and a hatred for King George. While the substantive text truly informs the reader, Fotheringham's fun and vibrant illustrations capture the reader's attention.

This book is great for l...more
Genre: biography
Copyright: 2012

The story tells how John and Tom made America become an independent country. They are very different people. John, a fat and short man who likes to talk, and good at debating. Tom, a lean and tall man who is shy but good at writing . They both deeply cares about American colonies. When they meets in Virginia delegation, they begins to work together in order to achieve their common goal, independence! They cooperate very well by bringing their professional skills to...more
Avery Maxwell
This book was a quirky take on Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. It told the story of the two very different men from an original point of view. Instead of just talking about how these two men influenced the creation of the United States, Kerley used key personality traits that both possessed to show a different side of them, not many know. I really enjoyed learning more about each man's individual personality and how that helped them to become passionate about setting America free from England's...more
Danielle Brill
“John was short and stout. Tom was tall and lean,” this adorable book gives, younger readers interested in history with rich illustrations and words that bring the past to life. The pages are extra long and full of color, and there is little wasted space anywhere on the pages. Many of the pages contrast John and Tom’s views and personalities, both with the text but also with the pictures. Barbara Kerley has a unique writing style that brings John and Tom to life as relatable characters. John is...more
Angelina Perez
37those rebels tom and john: this was a short story of two American heroes who were very different. These two men had one thing in common, they both cared about the American Colonies, and they did not care for King George. Both of them played an important part in the revolution. The words were very simple and easy to understand. This book would be great for younger children learning about the American history. I really liked the illustrations that the author used because they were colorful and t...more
Casey Richard
I loved this storyline! It was fun to read about John and Tom and understand how different they each were. Although it was sometimes confusing with the amount of facts Kerley provided, but she did a good job deciphering between the two. I loved the illustrations and the common colors being red, white, blue, and gold, which added to the very patriotic theme! It seemed as though this book has a bit text heavy for my liking, but all of the information was fun to read and added to the beautifully do...more
Who knew there would be another children's biography of the friendship between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams?

Like Worst of Friends, this one tells the story of how the two friends helped write the Declaration of Independence and steer the U.S. in its early days. The emphasis here is more on how the two were different and yet alike, as well as on the specific steps leading up to the Declaration. It does not spend as much time as the other on their enmity or presidency, though does bring up sta...more
I found this book delightful in both pictures and words. I enjoyed how Kerley presents both main characters side by side and then merges them together after they met. This technique allows the reader to see just how different John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were as well as the commonalities that brought them together. Fotheringham does a fantastic job with the illustrations. The cartoonish nature of the illustrations adds humor and emotional expression. I especially liked the maps that showed th...more
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Barbara Kerley was born in Washington, D.C. and has lived in many places, including Seattle (in grad school), Nepal (in the Peace Corps) and the tropical island of Guam (in her bathing suit.) She has written about almost everything: 19th C iguanodons, Teddy Roosevelt, world peace, Mark Twain's donkey, and the simple pleasure of a nice cool drink of water. Visit her website to meet her dog.
More about Barbara Kerley...
What To Do About Alice?: How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy! The Dinosaurs Of Waterhouse Hawkins The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According To Susy) One World, One Day A Home for Mr. Emerson

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