Title: Rush Revere and the First Patriots I Author: Rush Limbaugh I Publisher: Threshold Editions
Young Adult literature is defined by the American Library Association as fiction that would be appropriate for children between the ages of 12 to 18. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) has offered no synopsis for this book.
Actual Plot Summary: Rush Revere is back with his trusty horse (Liberty) for his second time-travelling adventure. Much to the chagrin of the principal's daughter (Elizabeth) Rush Revere has been invited to Manchester Middle School to act as substitute teacher for Mrs. Borington's history class. Most of the students love learning about American history when Mr. Revere teaches because he makes the subject come alive in a way that textbook teaching fails to accomplish.
Many of the students don't know it, but Liberty gained some unusual talents when he was hit by lightning a while back. Because of this act of nature and God (as Liberty is reminded in this book), he can talk, he can become invisible when he holds his breath and he can time travel. Liberty often takes Mr. Revere exploring through time to meet the important leaders that made our nation great.
For this journey, Mr. Revere is joined by some students in exploring the events leading up to the American Revolution. The story begins when Liberty inadvertently carries Benjamin Franklin through time to present day America just before Franklin is scheduled to make arguments against the Stamp Act. From there, Rush Revere and a handful of students journey back and forth to the late 1700s and meet historical figures such as King George the III, Samuel Adams and George Washington. Rush Revere's students are able to learn firsthand why Americans felt they had no choice but to demand independence from England.
This young adult book has earned an Independent 10+ rating for mild fantasy and mildly inappropriate humor. It receives four stars for story development:
Review : I know this may sound peculiar to those people with children who are always on the lookout for the newest literary thrill, but the best thing about Rush Revere and the First Patriots is that the book is fairly formulaic. Right? It makes no sense that methodic storytelling would be advantageous or preferable for our ADHD prone children. All the education experts will tell you that the only way to keep children interested in reading is to offer them extreme violence and profanity and a vast collection of pornographic content that would make Hugh Heffner blush.
When I say that this book is formulaic, I actually mean that in the best possible sense. It is in no way meant to be a putdown. My prediction in terms of this book series is that if Rush Limbaugh writes one hundred more installments for the Rush Revere narrative, parents can expect that the main character will find himself at Manchester Middle School, he will stumble upon a historical question that needs to be answered and that he, Liberty and a handful of students will travel back and forth through time to discover clues that will unravel that mystery.
What we discover in the Rush Revere series is nothing less than a modern adaptation of the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries series and thank God for it. Frankly, it's only upon reading what passes for award winning Young Adult literature that we can understand the deficiencies in most children's books and what is preserved by Rush Limbaugh in his storytelling.
Bottom line, what most YA authors lack when publishing is a forthright communication to the consumer of the true purpose behind their texts. They will suggest that their motive for writing a book or a series of books is to offer an entertaining look at the life of the average 12 to 18 year old child. What those writers are really doing is perverting and distorting that image in an effort to twist a young reader's self-respect and self-image and to rob them of their innocence.
Most writers are duplicitous and underhanded to this purpose and, I promise you, if parents actually suspected what literary trash is being fed to their children without their permission, there would be a cultural upheaval of such monumental proportions; it would make the American Revolution look like a minor kerfuffle.
Rush Limbaugh does not hide behind soft synopses and illusory awards from the ALA or other "community-minded" organizations in an effort to reach and inspire your children's imaginations. He will tell you exactly what his series is intended to do and he will deliver precisely what he promises:
For Rush Revere and the First Patriots, the point of the story is to let children experience the American Revolution first hand. They will learn about the Stamp Act. They will learn about the Townshend Act, the Intolerable Acts, the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party. They will meet King George the III and discover what was exciting his actions against the Colonies.
When the student learns about the violent and emotionally charged experiences concerning the Boston Massacre through the eyes of Limbaugh's characters, the subject is handled with a keen respect for the victims of this heinous act and for the psyche of your impressionable child. In addition to the deference he shows for your children, Limbaugh provides a historically mature and balanced discussion of the massacre and the way it was used by Samuel Adams to convince colonists to revolt. This is not a Pollyanna-styled interpretation of the event. Rush Limbaugh pretty well tells it like it was and no rose colored glasses will be required.
Children will read about Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, George Washington and John Adams and they will discover that these men were not just dusty-musty historical figures with no connection to you or me. Instead children will see that these men were real human beings with flaws and with dreams of their own, and with particular talents that contributed to America's independence.
Overall, the book was well written and appropriate for children between the ages of 9 on the low end and 14 on the high end. There are some gross-out moments that include a good deal of flatulence and a glass eye prank so parents of young children will want to be aware of those. I suppose this goes without saying, but I will say it anyway. It's also important to remind your children that they should never go off with an adult without permission even if that person is a trusted teacher. Most children between the ages of 10 to 13 will have covered the stranger-danger implications of such a scenario, but younger children may need to be reminded.
With those criticisms in mind, I do recommend this book for children 9 and up. This book supplements the history lessons that your children receive in school pretty nicely with details that may not be otherwise covered in textbooks.
I'm giving Rush Revere and the First Patriots four stars. It loses a star because I think Limbaugh covers too much ground in his story. From my perspective, he really could have slowed the timeline down a bit. Maybe he could have covered the subject in two or three separate books. I would have enjoyed seeing more detail about such important events and I bet his target audience would too.