Terrific, Inspired, and Funny, RUSH REVERE Rescues History For Kids
Jan 22, 2014
As I’ve said many times in review before, I absolutely love American History. I can ‘get into’ some World History as well, but there’s just something about celebrating my homeland that warms the cockles of my heart. I understand that there are others who aren’t as proud or interested in the past of ‘the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave’ as I am, but what can I say? To each his own, as they say, and, yes, I’m also a NASCAR fan, so there’s that.
Anyway, I’ve never been a big fan of historical fiction. That isn’t a slight directed at any authors of that growing field; it’s just a reflection on the fact that I’ve found rarely do the authors appear to get it right. Too often I’ve caught them twisting events or participants from history in order to serve a particular narrative or thematic point (again, this usually happens when the writer is trying to indict America rather than celebrate it), so I’m turned off, I tune out, and I usually give up on the novel.
However, Rush Limbaugh’s RUSH REVERE AND THE BRAVE PILGRIMS was more to my liking. Granted, I’m not exactly the target demographic – I’m well beyond (in decades!) the average-ten-year-old mind sought after in the marketing blitz, but I probably share more in common with those youths in that I still love my country, love to see it brought to life positively, and tend to celebrate the good in our nation rather than dwell on the bad.
So sue me, Liberals.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to that last two paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
Rush Revere (not to be confused with Rush Limbaugh, though there are ample similarities) and his horse, Liberty, share a unique gift to travel through time. Together, they’ve used this talent to explore the past and experience firsthand what it was like in those fragile moments in the formation of an exceptional nation. However, when Mr. Revere’s secret gets exposed to a couple insightful young skulls of mush, he’s at a crossroads: he can deny the truth (something not in his nature), or he can invite them to join in his journey into the past, giving the school children an up-close-and-personal look at what it meant to be one of the brave Pilgrims.
I won’t spoil anything further. I think that most who read this review will either support it or ‘vote it down’ based on their politics. It’s a free world, and, of course, you’re free to do so. My point is that you’re doing a disservice to yourself and/or what you stand for if you don’t pick up and read the book in order to experience what it is, appreciate what it may do, and make up your mind for yourself. My insight as an online critic isn’t meant to sway your politics; rather, it’s only to remind you that there’s a story in here that deserves to told, and it deserves to be told accurately. That said, I found much of RUSH REVERE – in what looks to be the start of series – exactly what I would’ve loved to read when I was a kid … and, trust me, that’s saying something.
When I was a youngster, I hated reading. Loathed it. Practically despised teachers who required it. Reading wasn’t all that much fun. Reading was dry. It was uninspired. It didn’t tell me anything that I felt I couldn’t get from hearing a teacher teach me about history, so I didn’t see the value in cracking all that many books. The kinds of things I did get jazzed about were the Encyclopedia Brown books (they taught me to reason) and the Miss Pickerell series of young adult novels (again, she was always out doing something fresh and new and, most importantly, ‘learning’ about the greater world outside). That’s a sentiment that RUSH REVERE taps into nicely, and I can honestly say that, throughout much of it, I was reminded of those other books that I did enjoy immensely. It’s filled with characters; there’s a bit of comedy; and I can relate to it.
As an adult, I didn’t find anything all that revelatory here, but my wife and I are huge history nuts, so we watch it on television and/or DVD any chance we can get. Still, RUSH REVERE is exactly the kind of book I’d get for my kid (if I had kids), confident in knowing that my child would be getting an apolitical, unbiased account of facts set against a clever tale that’s entirely kid-friendly.
RUSH REVERE AND THE BRAVE PILGRIMS (2013) is published by Threshold Editions, a division of Simon and Schuster, Inc. The story is written by Rush Limbaugh, and the novel includes illustrations (properly cited) throughout as well as some artistic renderings to bring the tale to life for young readers. It bears the cover price of $19.99 – a bit steep in my estimation but many outlets are selling it for considerably less. Shop around, and I’m certain you’ll find a good deal.
RECOMMENDED. If your kids are between the ages of 10 and 12, then I’d imagine they’d get a charge out of RUSH REVERE AND THE BRAVE PILGRIMS. First, it’s quality history that seeks to preserve the factual details that have long been established about those fateful times and places of America’s early days. Second, it’s given an inspired modern day narrative device, that of a time-travelling horse and his history-teaching sidekick (yes, the horse TRULY is the main character despite what you might think otherwise). Lastly, it’s told with an effervescent sense of humor, growing more intoxicating as Mr. Limbaugh’s formula works its way into your brain, and that makes the piece more likely to be remembered by young minds than is the next dry textbook on their bookshelves. Adults can read it, too; just keep in mind you might find some of it a bit too ‘juvenile’ as I did. (Not a bad thing, just an honest observation!)
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About the reviewer
What? You don't know enough about me from the picture? Get a clue! I'm a graduate from the School of Hard Knocks! You can find me around the web as "Trekscribbler" or "Manchops". … more