With warm weather at last, we’re releasing butterflies, watching birds, and swimming in the pool. Our outdoor activities prompted today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday pick about presidential outdoorsman, Teddy Roosevelt.
TITLE: TO DARE MIGHTY THINGS
AUTHOR: Doreen Rappaport
ILLUSTRATOR: C. F. Payne
PUBLICATION INFO: Disney Hyperion, 2013
INTENDED AUDIENCE: ages 6 to 8
GENRE: nonfiction picture book biography
OPENING and SYNOPSIS:
“’Teedie,’ as he was called, coughed, sneezed, wheezed, had raging fevers, and hardly ate.”
From the jacket flap:
“President Theodore Roosevelt is known as “the man with a plan,” the “rough rider.” His figure stands tall in American history; his legacy stretching him to larger-than-life proportions.
But before his rise to fame, he was just “Teedie,” a boy with ambitious dreams to change the world, and the conviction to see his stupendous imaginings brought to fruition.
As an American president, he left an impressive mark upon his country. He promised a “square deal” to all citizens, he tamed big businesses, and protected the nation’s wildlife and natural beauty. His fearless leadership assured that he would always be remembered, and his robust spirit now dares others to do mighty things.
In her moving picture book portrait, award-winning author Doreen Rappaport uses her well-honed approach of personal quotes and vivid prose to spin together the tale of a sickly boy who became a monumental man. Coupled with C. F. Payne’s dramatic artwork, the story of President Teddy, touchstone of American history, is brought to life.”
THEMES/TOPICS: history, biography
WHY I LIKE THIS BOOK: Teddy Roosevelt is a fascinating character. He truly remade himself from an often-sick youth into the quintessential outdoorsman and bold politician. I’ve read other books that focused on snippets of his life, for example Rosenstock’s THE CAMPING TRIP THAT CHANGED AMERICA, but this is the first truly comprehensive biography I’ve seen. Rappaport integrates primary sources into the text and presents a balanced picture. She shows how Teddy intervened in other country’s affairs, like those of Panama, ultimately building the Panama Canal. Of course, Teddy Roosevelt could care less what others thought, she tells us. Rappaport reveals Teddy as truly larger-than-life, and Payne’s illustrations follow suit beginning with the cover. It shows only Teddy’s laughing face. No title. No author’s name. No illustrator’s name. Just Teddy, truly larger than life.
- Rappaport’s back matter has resources for further exploration, including books and Web sites.
- A teacher’s guide is available through her Web site.
- She also has links to several videos of Teddy, including one of him hunting big game in Africa.
- And, of course, you too can dare mighty things and try some of the things Teddy did: ride a horse, watch birds, hike, and write your own books about what you find.
You’ll find way more cool books at Susanna Leonard Hill’s “Perfect Picture Books.” Every Friday folks review a host of new books. Join us!