An account of a presidential search for notoriety

JeffersonIn the New World called America big changes were a’brewing.
Independence was declared with bold hurrahs and ballyhooing!

In this rhyming, hilarious romp about a little-known facet of American history, Thomas Jefferson tries to disprove a French theory that those in the New World are puny and wussy by going in search of mammoth bones.

The French feel threatened by America’s new freedom and confidence, as embodied by Count Buffon who claims that the “New World was a chilly, swampy place, filled with puny, scrawny creatures, every species, breed, and race.” Thomas Jefferson won’t stand his young country being insulted, so he sets out to prove Count Buffon wrong. He sends people across the country in search of an animal or animal bones to prove that creatures in the United States are big and strong and worthy.

Hilarious, energetic, and a delight to read aloud, this book shines a light on this little-known slice of American history. Included in the back matter are an author’s note, who’s who and what’s what from American history, bibliography, and further reading.

“Colonists have settled America and declared independence from the British. President Thomas Jefferson embarks on a new war with a French naturalist, who declares that nothing worthwhile—people nor animals—exists in the New World,” writes Kirkus Reviews.

Determined to prove him wrong, Jefferson commissions an epic search that uncovers a giant sloth, which is named Megalonyx jeffersonii in his honor but doesn’t impress the Frenchman. When woolly mammoth bones surface on a New York farm, Jefferson finally has his notoriety, and they are immediately sent to the White House, with another set bound for a Parisian museum.

A full-page author’s note (dedicating the book to the lost voices of slave laborers involved in the search), further reading list, primary source quotes, and a glossary conclude this true tale. 

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