My daughter (Big Sis, age 9) was interested in learning more about American history from the Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh. She is a ravenous reader and remembers so much from story books she selects. We encourage her to pursue her interests and thus were pleased to have recently received these for reading, consideration, and review.
Please note that though Rush Limbaugh is a well known political voice, this review is focused solely and entirely on the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series and is not a statement of, or encouragement for or against, any particular political standing. In our home, we encourage learning and entertaining ideas from all perspectives, we dig into beliefs that aren't our own as well as those that align with what we believe, and we study history (and other subjects) from various sides, as fully as we are able, with the goal of a better understanding of our world.
The Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series are storybooks, not textbooks, that are designed to make history come alive and be fun, so they have lots of fictional components alongside actual historical information. The set consists of 5 chapter books that have between about 200-250 pages each. When the books arrived, I unpacked them and was struck by the presentation (they were packaged well and wrapped in a shiny blue ribbon) and high quality. I love that they are hardcover and that the pages aren't just white, but rather have a historical appearance to them (though they are a bit glossy, they are off-white and have a textured look).
The stories involve magically jumping back and forth through time between modern day and American historical moments. They are very patriotic and attempt to mix a silly story with learning facts and events from history, progressing from the pilgrims through to early Presidents over the course of the five books.
Since there are homeschoolers of all different backgrounds, styles, and approaches that follow my blog and visit my website, including both secular and faith-based, I would like to note that this series did not seem to be expressly or heavily faith-based. There are brief and occasional mentions of God, religion, silent prayer, etc. here and there. This is not surprising, however, since religion and faith (of many kinds) played a role in many events of our nation's past.
The first few books end with a quiz of sorts, called "Liberty Asks", with questions about the story. However, I didn't see the same type of questions in all of the books.
It's also helpful to know about the "Rush Revere's Homeschool Depot" website, designed to compliment the book series with resources for homeschool families, like study guides with answer keys, stories, "Revere's Library" with additional info, challenges, and even scholarships!
Since Big Sis was the primary reader of these books, she wanted share a review of her own with you, so I will include it here (I added the book titles in brackets). She was quite excited and pleased to write it and hopes you find it helpful. She wrote:
"The Rush Revere series is about a man named Rush Revere and his talking, flying, time-freezing, time-traveling, turning-invisible horse named Liberty. Rush Revere is a substitute history teacher at Manchester Middle School. He introduces Liberty to the class and a student called Freedom realizes what the horse can do. Another student, Tommy, soon gets let in on the secret. Later, two other people (Cam and Elizabeth) find out as well. The characters go on time travel trips many times in the books, all to observe and learn about American history firsthand.
In the first book [Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims], there is an introduction of main characters and everything, they visit the Mayflower, and they interact with pilgrims. My favorite part of that story was when William Bradford invited Rush to the First Thanksgiving.
In the second book [Rush Revere and the First Patriots], they meet patriots like Ben Franklin, Sam Adams, Patrick Henry, and Paul Revere. They don't like King George III, the Stamp Act, or taxes. It is actually in this book that we meet Cam.
The third book [Rush Revere and the American Revolution] is about the American Revolution, battles, and the Declaration of Independence. I'm reading this one right now. So far, I liked the part about the candles being used to send a signal, especially because I like codes. 'One if by land, two if by sea'.
I haven't read the other two books yet, but it looks like the fourth one [Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner] is about the Star-Spangled Banner, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, and the last one [Rush Revere and the Presidency] is about the early presidents, like George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. I can't wait to read them both.
I loved the Rush Revere books. They were really fun! I think they are historical fiction and they helped me learn things I didn't know about history and remember more about stuff I did know. I would tell other kids about them and I think kids around my age would like them if they like time travel, horses, and history. If they don't like history already, maybe they will after they read these."
I also spent some time reading and looking over the books and did read a few chapters with my daughter. The author has a casual, easygoing, chatty style of writing, cracking corny jokes and talking directly to the reader now and then. I felt there was a good balance between "learning" and "fun".
We read some of it out loud to Lil Sis (age 7) and she thoroughly enjoyed listening as well. It was easy to read and engaging for kids, highlighted many significant events of American history, and seemed to capture my daughters' interest and spur them to ask more questions - which is always fantastic! I found that both girls were incorporating aspects of history into their play, talking about famous figures and historical items and artifacts as part of their games and activities, which I thought was pretty neat. Obviously, a lot of it is sticking with them.
The books all have a lot of beautiful color illustrations, both cartoon-like enhancements to the story and historical art, images, and artifacts. Big Sis really enjoyed these pictures and said she spent a lot of time studying them. (She said her favorite from the story itself was the one where Elizabeth came around a corner and found out their secret about Liberty.) I do believe they added a lot of value and interest to the stories. I didn't particularly care for Rush's big head on the illustrated body, but it didn't phase my kiddos. (I also felt the name Rush Limbaugh was oddly and awkwardly bigger than the books' titles.)
The Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series opened up the door to a lot of discussion about our history and, for that, I am thankful. They made the subject fun, intriguing, amusing, silly, and memorable. And best of all, they sparked an interest in my daughter to learn more and increased her love of history! Because there are points in the books that express certain views, I would recommend the series to families but encourage parents to read through first, or better still, alongside their children. Most of all, since my daughter enjoyed the series so much, I would say it is worth a look!
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I'm a homeschooling mom of three, enjoying our time in Hawaii and hoping to share some of that experience with you, including ideas, reviews, resources, and information.