Kerley, B., & Fotheringham, E. (ill.) (2012). Those Rebels, John & Tom. New York: Scholastic Press. ISBN: 9780545222686
Annotation: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were opposites in every way, but they shared a love for America. Together, they united the Continental Congress and led the colonies into freedom.
Reaction: From the duo that brought us What to do About Alice?, comes a look at how John and Tom met and became friends. With the same humor and informative text sprinkled with quotes from primary sources used in Alice, Kerley tells us about these two great men. Each set of pages tells the reader about John and Tom’s personalities, daily habits and hobbies and how different they are from each other. If John likes to play rough and box with other boys, Tom likes to read quietly to himself in his father’s library. John gets his hands dirty on his farm while Tom oversees the construction of his estate in Virginia. This juxtaposition really sets up how wonderfully they work together and how their opposite personalities complement each other.
This book was also fun to read after reading Worst of Friends, which tells the story of their falling out and eventually re-friendship. I would definitely hand both of these books to a kid to be read together, that way they get a complete picture of the amazing relationship between these two men.
Fotheringham almost solely uses shades of primary colors to illustrate this book, with some browns thrown in, and I love the effect. He also uses large exclamation points, question marks, “yay” and “nay” to highlight BOLD ejaculations and loud noises, which is a nice way to get across the chaos of that time without words or complicated pictures.
I would use this as a part of a 5th or 6th grade history unit.
Media Used: Digital media.