Biographies by the d’Aulaires

Titles: Abraham Lincoln, Pocahontas, Leif the Lucky, Columbus, Buffalo Bill, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin
Authors & Illustrators: Ingri & Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
Publisher: Beautiful Feet Books
ISBNs: 9781893103269, 9780964380363, 9780964380301, 9780964380332, 9780964380370, 9780964380318, 9780964380394

Timothy’s Review (at age 10)

It is a rare occasion that I curl up and start reading a biography.  In fact, the only biographies I feel are worth reading on my own (ie, when I am not ordered to by my mother) are these.  They are very interesting and captivating.  I enjoy them because the text is comprehensible and there are plenty of illustrations.  Here are some of the things I found interesting from each of the books in this series:

Abraham Lincoln – he was helping his father plough the fields before he got his first pair of pants.  :)  But now seriously … two people predicted that he would be President of the United States.  A fortune-teller in the Southern States and his own wife.

Pocahontas – she saved John Smith, who was the captain of the crew that came to Virginia.  This is significant because without John Smith, the English would never have been able to found Virginia.

Leif the Lucky – son of Eric the Red who found Greenland, he was the first white man in North  America, or “Vinland”.

Columbus – he proved that the earth was round, and “founded” North America.  When he went to America, the people thought he was a god, coming down to earth on “white birds”, which were actually his ships.

Buffalo Bill – he was the greatest buffalo herder ever and he was so good that at one point he fed over one thousand people with the buffalo he shot.

George Washington – when he was just eleven years of age, he lost his mother.  He won the war with England and became the first president of the United States of America.

Nathalie’s Review of Benjamin Franklin (at age 8)

I am reading this biography for “school” this year and am about halfway through.  As a boy, Benjamin Franklin was very mischievous and even worse, he led his friends into mischief also.  His father tried to get him work, but all of the jobs he didn’t like.  He liked books, so his older brother, a printer, gave Benjamin a job as his apprentice.  His brother treated him harshly so Benjamin decided to sail away from home in Boston and went to New York then Philadelphia.  Benjamin was sometimes clever but sometimes unwise.  For example he gave all of the pennies that his father’s friend gave him to buy a whistle that he had wanted, and everyone laughed at him because he had paid four times as much as the whistle was worth.

I can’t wait to finish the book because I like to read the little “moral things” at the bottom of each page.  For example, “Great talkers, little doers”, “Would you live with ease, do what you ought, not what you please”.

Mummy Angie’s Review

There are few homeschoolers who haven’t at least heard about the d’Aulaire biographies.  They can be found in many living book curricula book lists and even with textbook curricula, they are often listed as supplemental readings.  And they are worthy of their elevated status among homeschool resources.  The illustrations can really hold the attention of a younger elementary/primary school aged child (in fact sometimes looking at the illustrations is all my kids seem to want to do), the text is not simplistic but the short and well-crafted sentences help the reader understand the story.  I read that the d’Aulaires, who spoke five languages fluently, travelled to the various countries to do research for their books so that the results are historically accurate, and contain enough trivia to keep the story engaging and not “textbooky” at all.  These are by no means comprehensive biographies of the seven people, but they will certainly spark interest in their lives and provide motivation and inspiration to want to read more.

All in all these will be excellent additions to any home and homeschool library.

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Filed under Ages: Elementary/Primary, Angie's Reviews, Biography, Geography, History, Newbery Medal, Picture books, Timothy's Reviews

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