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Big George: How a Shy Boy Became President Washington
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Big George: How a Shy Boy Became President Washington

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  104 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
A boy from Virginia becomes the first president

Before he was the face on the dollar bill, George Washington was a shy boy with a hot temper. But George had character and adaptability. He taught himself courage and self-control. At an early age, and without really realizing it, George Washington gathered the qualities he’d need to become one of the greatest leaders America
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published June 30th 2008)
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Tanya W
Sep 02, 2011 Tanya W rated it really liked it
Great children's book... biography about George Washington. Great way to discuss the time period. I liked the inherent lessons like:
You can have a difficulty or weakness (like shyness) and still accomplish great things.
Being strategic and smart can have positive outcomes.
You can have what seem to be like significant disadvantages and tragedies in life and still leave your mark and be triumphant.

As much as I liked the book, I was not much a fan of the illustrations. George Washington and Ben Fran
Mar 10, 2009 Tasha rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
George Washington was a tall, shy boy who loved to spend time on his own in the woods. He learned from his half brother to be a Virginia gentleman, and loved to read books about ancient Roman heroes like Cincinnatus. George grew into a man who worked on mapping the colony, loved the outdoors and excelled at sports, but he didn’t like to talk. He could never find the right words unless he was angry. Throughout this fascinating picture book, readers discover Washington’s path to greatness and hist ...more
Sep 03, 2011 Lisa rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teachers and parents
Recommended to Lisa by: Tanya
A biography of George Washington that is also a picture book is hardly comprehensive, but this book is informative in a way that will entertain young and old readers. The interesting illustrations are very expressive; however, unfortunately most of the expressions are scowls.

This picture may even make your children scowl:
Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I have always loved reading biographies, and in the third, fourth, and fifth grade I read everyone in the school library.I plan to read this book to my fourth grade grandchild
Feb 23, 2009 Heloyce rated it really liked it
A picture book but with some interesting facts about the life of our first President, George Washington. Although he was shy as a boy, he became a distinguished leader of both the military and the nation. As the book states, "...he worked hard to become a man who was polite and clever, fair and wise, loyal and true." Traits needed then. Traits needed now.
Nov 13, 2013 Kelly rated it really liked it
I believe this is one of the better written biographies for children that I've read. It was a joy reading it to my own. I would highly recommend classroom teachers reading this in honor of President's Day or during a study of the Revolutionary War. The illustrations are beautiful. My only complaint is that there wasn't enough evidence to support a key part of the title: how a shy boy became President of the U.S. I can see this book as a great lesson on how we can be anything we wish, no matter o ...more
Sam Bloom
Apr 09, 2009 Sam Bloom rated it really liked it
Very informative look at good old G.W.'s pre-Father of the Country/1st president years. Who knew he had a nasty temper, or that he was such a looker that all the girls around his Virginia home wanted to dance with him at the balls? Not I. An enjoyable biography.
love this book. follows george washington's life from a shy young boy to a tall, strong young soldier to the great president he became. great for walking through the am rev war highlights and better understanding franklin and george's role in the nation's beginning.
Jun 02, 2009 Ann rated it really liked it
Biography/history/showing a different side than many young readers will know of the first president. I found the cover art slightly scary--it reminded me of Heathcliff or a haunted 19th-century composer, but I liked the inside art.
Jun 16, 2014 Shelli rated it really liked it
This is a fun picture book about the life of George Washington, from life in the colonies to fathering our Nation’s new democracy. Big George is a wonderful book to share with elementary age students when covering Colonial Times, the American Revolution or just for the love of learning.
Oct 18, 2009 Paige rated it really liked it
good information (I hope) on Washington in a format that would not loose children or adults. :)
Feb 04, 2009 Laura rated it liked it
Shelves: youth-nonfiction
A solid intro biography. But why are all the people frowning in the illustrations?
Oct 13, 2016 Kara rated it really liked it

Its a solid start to introducing the reader to George Washington, but I would have liked more about the context of the wider world he lived in.
Great picture book about one of our favorite Virginians!
Jul 08, 2009 Shaneen rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I was surprised at how much information could be in a picture book.
A different kind of review: From this book: here's what I learned about President Washington's traits that feel right for being President:

He was a learner: When George was eleven his father died, and he went to live at his half-brother Lawrence's place, Mount Vernon. There he spent time reading in Mt. Vernon's large library and was especially drawn to a Roman farmer who put down his plow because he was needed as a leader. George thought it was admirable that this man, Cinncinnatus, gave up what
Nancy Kotkin
Picture book biography about George Washington. Starts out with George as a boy and describes how he became the man who was our first American President; this inclusion of his youth will draw in the interest of young readers. Both the art and the illustrations portray a person who is more robust, complex, and fully realized than most biographies about Washington, which tend to focus exclusively on his participation in the American revolution and/or his presidency. That is all in here too, but it ...more
Sep 21, 2015 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is an informative and entertaining biography about George Washington. The narrative is not overly detailed, but is really engaging and we all learned something new about our first President.

Even though we live relatively close to Mount Vernon and have learned a lot about Virginia history, we were surprised at the fact that he was so shy, that he had a temper, and that he studied a book of manners because "He understood that good manners could hide his shyness." (p. 4)

The pencil and gouache
We are major G.W. fans! And we really enjoy this book, however there are some things in it that bother me greatly, and so in my copy I have modified these things.

Be mindful of the de-emphasis of God's protection over Washington on the pages following the crossing of the Delaware, and the hint of feminism on the back page note.

On these pages discussing his "luck" during Braddock's defeat and his immunity to smallpox, it seems to be written as an attempt to belittle the providential hand of God i
Sep 19, 2011 Vivian rated it really liked it
Shelves: biographies

Join Anne and Matt have combined creative forces to introduce young children to George Washington in this large picture book format. Don't be surprised if you learn a thing or two yourself! The book inspires a myriad of webbing activities. After reading this account you and your child (or class) could learn about Cincinnatus, a Roman farmer and leader, for instance. Develop a list of skills to acquire. On George's list were penmanship, manners, memorization, riding horseback, fencing, and much m
Sep 12, 2016 Elizabeth rated it liked it
Nice little picture book bio of Washington that...kinda stops...after the war. It covers his early life and how his parents died and he was raised by his brother, who taught him to be a gentleman farmer/plantation owner, talks about his early career as a surveyor and then in the military during the French and Indian War and how he developed a reputation for being invincible. Stresses the fact that he was a loyalist during the early part of the Revolution, lost more battles than he won, and serve ...more
Feb 06, 2013 Stacey rated it liked it
According to the title, ‘How a shy boy became President Washington.’ Which is exactly what this book is, the bare bones of George Washington’s life.
This book wasn’t anything special, by the time you’ve gotten through high school you’ve read and heard every fact in here a couple of times. So I realized, of course, that the book was accurate in its facts and could be very interesting to someone who is just learning the facts about the first president.
Mar 12, 2013 Sarahfnm rated it it was ok
This was just "OK."

I thought that Washington's early life was interesting, but it just seemed missing a lot of information. I have visited his beloved plantation and just can't get the fact out of my mind that he was a slaveholder. Nothing of the sort was mentioned in this biography.

The biography made it seem like he was a tall and handsome man, and while it really focused on these facts, it's not something that I associate with President Washington.

Rhonda K
Feb 20, 2016 Rhonda K rated it it was amazing
This is one of our favorite biographies for young people. It offers a nice blend of fact and some of the more entertaining aspects of Washington's life and personality. It's strong on sense of duty and offers a look at a couple military campaigns too (Braddock's Defeat, Yorktown) as well as Valley Forge. Beautiful artwork! For first graders and up.
Dec 05, 2016 Bethe rated it really liked it
It's been a long while since I had read anything about our first president. Love how the illustrations make George appear to be a real person, not just a hero of our country. I also love how the cover art doesn't depict him in his most recognizable way. Concise and engaging. Be sure to read the author note at the end for Washington's views on slavery which were ahead of the times.
Feb 06, 2013 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography-books
Thhis is a good biography book on George Washington. It talks about what happened when he was younger and goes throughout his whole life. It gives really good information. However, it tends to get a ltitle long when reading. It is a good children's book to read to children who are in the upper grades in elementary school.
Mar 26, 2014 Natalie rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, nonfiction
I like how this book gives readers a glimpse into George Washington's younger years as well as his journey to becoming president. I'll use this book after teaching about the American Revolution with my fifth graders.
Apr 06, 2011 Karyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: presidents
An excellent biography of George Washington. A little long for young children.
Jul 20, 2012 Wendy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Wonderful picture book telling the life story of George Washington
This is an excellent book that gives real insight into why Washington was so important to the beginnings of the United States of America. Truly fantastic and highly recommended.
The author describes how a shy young boy grew to become one of the most powerful figures in American history.
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