|Rescuing the Declaration of Independence : how we almost lost the words that built America|
Author: Redding, Anna Crowley
A riveting true story about the lowly clerk who saved our country's most cherished documents from being destroyed by the British army.
Kirkus Reviews (01/15/20)
School Library Journal (02/01/20)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 02/01/2020 Gr 1–5—Stephen Pleasonton, a relatively unknown hero of the War of 1812, saved the physical copies of the Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and the U.S. Constitution from destruction when the British attacked Washington, DC, in 1814. When Secretary of State James Monroe spied the British making preparations to invade the Capitol, he sent a note to President James Madison, and Monroe's office clerk, Pleasonton. The clerk immediately sprang into action and gathered the fledgling country's most valuable documents. He recruited fellow Americans to aid in his mission, even as Secretary of War John Armstrong scoffed at the idea of the British invading Washington which, at the time, was a swamp. Pleasonton's bravery and persistence allowed many important national documents to survive. The narrative propels readers forward and is complimented by Fotheringham's playful, digitally rendered illustrations. An author's note, information about the rescued documents, a time line, and a bibliography are included. VERDICT Although the story would have benefited from additional background information about the War of 1812, this picture book is a unique tale of heroism by an ordinary and relatively unknown clerk. A welcome addition to history shelves.—Jennifer Knight, North Olympic Library System, Port Angeles, WA - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 03/01/2020 Why were British ships sailing along the east coast of America in 1814? When Secretary of State James Monroe spied thousands of redcoats disembarking in Maryland, he knew that an attack on Washington was imminent. Monroe sent a message to President Madison and another to his clerk, Stephen Pleasonton, telling him to move the young nation’s founding documents to a safe place. And Pleasonton did, though he almost forgot the original Declaration of Independence, which was hanging on the wall. Even when a powerful general scoffed at him, he persisted and, with help from “everyday Americans,” moved the documents to safety before the British seized Washington. The picture book's back matter includes an author’s note, a time line for the story’s events, and facts about the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the U.S. Constitution, as well as information on visiting the National Archives and viewing its documents online. The colorful digital artwork captures the story’s period setting and its drama, while maintaining a light tone overall. A little-known, intriguing tale concerning America’s most-treasured documents. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.