HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Blast to the Past: Washington’s War
Authors: Stacia Deutsch and Rhody Cohon
Illustrator: Guy Francis
Publisher: Aladdin Paperbacks, 2007
Related website: www.SimonSaysKids.com (publisher)
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 7-10
Rating: 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Deutsch, Stacia, and Cohon, Rhody. Blast to the Past: Washington’s War (published in 2007 by Aladdin Paperbacks, an imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division of Simon and Schuster, 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York City, NY 10020). Abigail and her friends Jacob, his twin brother Zack, and Bo are members of the History Club. Their third-grade social studies teacher, Mr. Caruthers, has invented a time-travel computer, but a woman named Babs Magee stole it and has been going back in history trying to get famous Americans to quit so that she can take over and become famous herself. So Mr. C builds a brand-new time-travel computer and sends the four youngsters back in time to convince the famous Americans not to quit. In Washington’s War, they must talk George Washington into not going back to Mount Vernon but remaining at Valley Forge. Will they be able to do it? And what arguments can they make?
Well, well, well. Another group of time-travelling kids. Jack and Annie go back in time using “The Magic Tree House,” but Abigail and her friends use a sci-fi-style time-travelling computer. We visited Valley Forge National Historical Park in Pennsylvania last year, and I always try to find some children’s or youth fiction books related to the historic sites we see. The park’s bookstore was selling this one. It is No. 7 of the series. The first six are Abraham Lincoln’s Legacy, Walt Disney’s Dream, Alexander Graham Bell’s Breakthrough, Martin Luther King’s Courage, Sacagawea’s Strength, and Ben Franklin’s Fame. One more is listed as No. 8, Betsy Ross’s Star. A few common euphemisms occur (e.g., drat, darn, gosh), and a reference to how “people peed” in chamber pots is found. As one might imagine, there is quite a bit of good historical information woven into the easy-to-read fictional story, but what I especially appreciate is the patriotic attitude that seems to underlie the plot.