Monday, February 16, 2015

Picture Books 14:14

Farmer George Plants a Nation
Farmer George Plants a Nation by Peggy Thomas
Paintings by Layne Johnson
Publisher: Calkins Creek
Published: 2008
ISBN-13: 9781620910290
Personal Copy
Word Count: 2150 (estimate)

What better book to do a blog over on President's Day than a picture book about George Washington. And by an author that I greatly admire - Peggy Thomas. Peggy presented several sessions on writing nonfiction at the NF4NF* Conference I attended in October 2014. She was inspirational to all who attended. 

Most people know George Washington as a general and our first president. However, George loved being a farmer. Because of this love, he was very enthusiastic about how to make farming easier.

So here are the character traits that Peggy made very clear as she crafted Farmer George Plants a Nation:


               ...but he wanted to know more to make his plantation successful.

               George would need to see for himself which seeds would grow well in
               Mount Vernon's hard clay soil and warm Virginia climate.


               Spent the greatest part of the day in making a new plow of my own
               Farmer George bred the male donkeys with female horses to create
               some of the finest American mules. 

               He designed (a barn) it so his workers could tread wheat inside during 
               bad weather. 
               ...he designed a building called a stercorary, or dung house.

               ...his plow did three jobs at once, saving time and energy.


               ...commander in chief of Virginia's troops.

               ...people were calling for him to leave home to lead the colonies as
               commander in chief of the Continental Army.

               ...planted his trees as if they were soldiers on the battlefield.

               George Washington was elected the first president...He chose judges, 
               picked cabinet members, and approved laws.


               He'd roll up his sleeves and drill holes in the soil.


               He even looked into pulling mud from the bottom of the Potomac 

I think my favorite quote from Peggy's book is the following, talking about two of his numerous character traits:

               He planted the seed of freedom on the battlefield, and with his 
               ingenuity as a farmer and his leadership as the nation's first  
               president, the United States grew into a world leader in farming.

George Washington is a character in this book, but he was a real person. After reading this wonderful book, I know so much more about George Washington, the man, the farmer, our first president. I believe that anyone could learn a lot about creating character by reading this book! I know I have...thanks Peggy.

*Nonfiction for New Folks