Everyone wanted George Washington to be the president. He was responsible, led the army in a fight against the British, and helped write the Constitution. But being the president is a very important job, and George was too nervous. So, to everyone's surprise, he said no! However, George had many supporters, and with the help of the cheering crowds and loyal advisers and dignitaries, George realized that he didn't have time to think about how nervous he was, he just had to do his job. With little-known facts and a bit of humor, Suzanne Tripp Jurmain gives readers a glimpse into the more personal side of the first president of the United States.
From the opening lines, Jurmain's (Freedom's Sons) lighthearted, anecdotal look at the war-weary general's reluctant agreement to run for election takes on a snappy tone: "In 1789, almost everyone in the country wanted George Washington to be the first president of the United States of America. Everyone-except George." The narrative flashes back to prior jobs Americans had asked the honest, dependable man to do-which he did-including leading the Colonial army to victory and helping to write the Constitution. But, the author explains (smoothly incorporating Washington's own words), "Nothing in his whole life... filled him with `greater anxiety' than the thought of being president." Pressured by friends and strangers, he acquiesced, yet after his election admitted, "he felt like a criminal who was `going to... his execution.' " Jurmain shares entertaining details of the subsequent weeks: Washington had to borrow money from a Virginia neighbor to fund his trip to New York for the inauguration; the inaugural ceremony was delayed because members of Congress forgot to bring a Bible; and the nervous president "quivered all over like a six-foot custard" while making his speech. Readers will likely find this candid revelation of Washington's apprehension and self-doubt both endearing and inspiring. Day's (Who Was Annie Oakley?) occasionally grainy, animated art captures the text's cheerfulness and helps to put an appealing, human face on this larger-than-life leader. Ages 5-up. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.