Thursday, February 27, 2014

George Washington's Breakfast by Jean Fritz

I stumbled upon this in the South Pasadena library while I was looking for one of those Who Was biographies of George Washington to read to Matthew and David. David recently made a George Washington puppet for his book share. 

Yesterday I read this book to the boys. It was quite long for Matthew, but he listened to most of it before being lured away by handball on our back porch :)

This story is about a boy named George Allen who was born on February 22nd, George Washignton's birthday. He is obsessed with all things "George." He likes to count things, just like George Washington. He goes to great lengths to find out the answer to his question: "What does George Washington eat for breakfast?" He reads several books from his school library to find the answer to his question. My favorite part of last night's Read Aloud was when my eight year old ask, "Mommy, what's a card catalog?" He's not satisfied by what people ate around the time of George Washington. He goes to the Smithsonian and sees an actual uniform worn by George Washington and counts all the buttons. He's secretly pleased that he and George are probably the only two people who ever counted all those brass buttons. He travels to Mount Vernon and talks to a docent who can only tell him what the rest of the household ate. Read the book to find out if he finds the answer to his question.

Not only did I enjoy the story, the boy's persistence, the flashback to the card catalog at Lincoln School's library from when I was in elementary school, but this is the line that struck me.

"Don't look at me," his grandmother said. "I said I'd cook but I wouldn't look."

Matthew's words this week are look, book, cook, etc. What is that . . . short "o" vowel sounds, right? Remember, I'm not an elementary school teacher, but how perfect is this that his class is comparing Abraham Lincoln and George Washington and this line comes up again and again in the book. George's grandmother isn't a big help with all this research George is doing. She's busy doing the spring cleaning. She tells George that she'll make George Washington's favorite breakfast for him once he finds out what it is. And a few times throughout the book she says to George, "Don't look at me," his grandmother said. "I said I'd cook but I wouldn't look."

Yes, I know. Interrupted dialogue. That got my creative juices flowing too!