Monday, July 23, 2012

Write On, Mercy! – Gretchen Woelfle

The Secret Life of Mercy Otis Warren
Illustrated by Alexandra Wallner
2012, Calkins Creek, Honesdale, PA
Rating:  5
For:  older kids, probably not preschool
40 pages
HC $16.95

Endpapers:  Orange
Title Page:  Mercy’s arm and hand, with quill and melting candle, writing on a stack of papers.
Setting:  Late 1700’s during the American Revolution, in Massachusetts
1st line/lines:  “From her parlor window in West Barnstable,  young Mercy Otis could watch the tide flow in and out of the Great Marsh on Cape Cod Bay.”
OSS:  Tells the life of Mercy Otis Warren, a woman who told the story of the Revolution in over 1,000 pages that took thirty years.  She would have been a politician if she had lived in contemporary times!

This was an exceptionally fine story about a really interesting person – of the female persuasion – in our history.  The writing is beautiful and sophisticated, the story well-researched and finely told.  A keeper.  Perfect for my 4th grade biography unit.

Includes Author’s Note, a painting of Mercy Otis Warren by John Singleton Copley (this REALLY makes her a real person for the kids), a 2-page timeline of her life and what was going on politically, an excellent bibliography, and a number of websites.  What a perfect model for a well researched book of history to share with kids! 

About the author:  Woelfe is a writer from LA who loves history, especially stories of little-known people in history.  She’s written Katie the Windmill Cat, All the World’s a Stage: A Novel in Five Acts, and Jeannette Rankin: Political Pioneer.

The illustrator, also a love of history, lives in Yucatan, Mexico.

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