I Just Read…
Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims
This is actually a really good book! I don’t mean to sound surprised but I kind-of am. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a Rush Limbaugh listener and fan for years but when he announced he had written a children’s book I was a bit skeptical. Rush Limbaugh has no children so I doubt he spends much time perusing kid’s literature. So how could he have any idea of what kids like in a book? Well, apparently he does.
Rush Revere is a part time substitute teacher who also, interestingly enough, acts as a spokesperson for an Iced Tea Company (wink, wink). Mr. Revere is good friends with a talking horse who by mysterious means is able to travel back to any period in history. When Rush Revere agrees to substitute at a local middle school’s history class, adventure ensues!
What makes this book worth reading? First, it is historically accurate. I find this very important and not something that you can rely on when it comes to the historical fiction genre. My pet peeve in historical fiction is when characters are given modern viewpoints and interests. I have never understood why authors find it necessary to re-write a viewpoint for a character from history. I suppose they think they are helping the modern reader to identify with the character. But why not just do a better job of explaining why that viewpoint was there in the first place? Anyway, it was refreshing to read a children’s book that was historically reliable in the actions and viewpoints that the characters of the time would have actually had.
Secondly, the illustrations are really good! There are many photos of museum pieces from the time as well as some classic artworks. One of the best illustrations is the cross-section of the Mayflower. My only criticism of this is I wish it was bigger. It is a really detailed picture and a bit hard to see as it is only the size of the pages in the book. Next time, I would love to see this as a large, fold-out option.
Next, Limbaugh does a great job of using humorous situations to relate a conservative philosophy. Principles that are vital for a sound government and civil society are introduced without preachiness. This is what has always separated great literature from ordinary books. The ability to illustrate central truths without you realizing your thoughts about a subject just shifted.
Finally, the faith of the Pilgrims is displayed in an honest and moving way. What this small group of people endured is unthinkable to most of us today. We wouldn’t do it. We wouldn’t put ourselves through it. Why did they? Because they were convinced God had led them. The book portrays the group’s leaders as making decisions based on their faith in the Bible and their belief that God was directing their journey. It amazed me how strongly this theme came through as to my knowledge; the author does not profess faith in Christ. I guess it just proves that his intent was to tell the Pilgrim’s story without letting his own voice interfere.
I can’t wait to see where Rush Revere & Liberty go next!
Pages: 206, 10 Chapters
Genre: Historical Fiction, Adventure
Recommend: Read Aloud K-5th grade; Read Alone 3rd – 7th grade
Watch Out For: none
Talk About: Point out that the Pilgrims were like people in the Bible who also followed God even when it was really hard. Make the point that God can use anyone who is willing to be obedient to Him.
Homeschool: Use the ‘quiz’ at the end of the book.
- Compare the failure of the colony when they operated as an ‘equal share’ society (Chapt 8, page 162) to their success when the Pilgrims each owned and were responsible for their own homes & crops (Chapt 10, page 194).
- Talk about the Mayflower Compact (Chapt 5, pages 105-107). Why do we need laws? What kinds of laws does America have that ensure a civil and just society? What should we base new laws on?
- Compare the civilization of the Pilgrims and the civilization of the Pokanoket Indians. Include comparisons of food, housing, families, religion, customs. Create maps or 3-D artwork of a Pokanoket village and Plymouth Colony.
- Talk about the Mayflower. What were the typical uses of ships at the time? What were the lives of sailors like? What was the difference between a legitimate sailing ship and a pirate ship? What positions were there on a sailing vessel? Create a diagram or 3-D art of the Mayflower or another 1620 era vessel.