Aaron and Alexander

illus. by Don Brown. 32p. bibliog. Roaring Brook. Oct. 2015. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781596439986.
RedReviewStarGr 3–5—Brown has taken on a formidable task in trying to present this controversial incident in American history to a picture book audience. Brown begins by describing the childhoods of Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, emphasizing the parallels between their lives. Both were orphans, and both were extremely intelligent, entering prestigious universities at early ages. They even had similar nicknames, Little Burr and Little Lion. Both fought the British in New York and survived the winter at Valley Forge. Their political paths diverged after the American victory over the British, and the public vilification of Burr by Hamilton over a period of years finally prompted Burr to challenge Hamilton to a duel. At this point, history becomes fuzzy, as Brown details in his author's note ("The truth is forever lost to time."). Brown tells this troubling tale succinctly, capturing the drama and ultimate tragedy of the situation. His signature ink and watercolor illustrations support the text and reflect the historical period.
VERDICT There is almost nothing on this piece of history for this age group, and young history buffs will appreciate this offering. Buy where there is potential interest.

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