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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book Review: If You Were There When They Signed the Constitution by Elizabeth Levy

SERIES: If You...
AUTHOR: Elizabeth Levy
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Inc.
PUBLICATION DATE: June 1, 1992 (first published 1987)
FORMAT: Paperback, 80 pages
GENRE: Non-fiction, History
ISBN: 9780590451598
If you were there when they signed the Constitution you would see
--Why the Constitution is called a miracle.
--The first big argument.
--What was missing from the Constitution.

This book takes you behind the locked doors of Philadelphia's State House during the history-making summer of 1787. You will meet the key delegates and find out what is going on.

I read this non-fiction history book aloud to my children.

This children's book provides a really good overview of the events leading up to the formation of the Constitution, the process by which it was written and signed, and some background information about important historical figures including Ben Franklin, George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Gouverneur Morris, James Madison, William Paterson, Roger Sherman, and Luther Martin.

My children and I really enjoyed this book. The language is appropriate for young listeners, and the book provided just enough information in small bites without being too overwhelming. What we found most interesting were the amendments that were added to the Constitution and how they had an impact on the lives of Americans. For example, before the 13th Amendment was added to the Constitution in 1865, it was legal to own slaves.

Joan Holub's illustrations are bright and colourful, and they are featured on nearly every page. It was very interesting for my kids to see how people looked and dressed during that time period.

Overall, I am very impressed with this series and will be looking for more of them to add to our collection. This book is a very good complement to your American history studies, and I would recommend it! The series is marketed as appropriate for Grades 3-5.


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