I have to confess, I did not actually read this book. I listened to it on CD. It seemed logical since the author is a famous radio talk show host. This may be why the book struck me as a read-aloud for elementary school children rather than a book for middle school students.
Limbaugh, encouraged by his wife, decided to write a story about the Pilgrims to help teach young Americans about the history of their nation. Rush Revere is a substitute history teacher whose time traveling horse, Liberty, takes him back in time to meet “exceptional” Americans. Their first adventure lands them near Plymouth Rock where, with two of Mr. Revere’s students, they meet William Bradford, Miles Standish, Squanto and other well-known figures from the time of the founding of Plymouth Colony. They even witness the first Thanksgiving, all the while assuring that their actions do not change the course of history.
Aside from a few linguistic anachronisms (e.g., calling a young woman a “Native American girl” when speaking to a 17th century man), the author seems to have done some research. He incorporates some little known information about the Puritans, such as the suggestion that they wore bright colors rather than only black. His detailed explanations about aspects of 17th century life help young readers understand the book’s context. For instance, he clearly defines nautical terminology, something many children’s authors take for granted. Limbaugh voices clearly his love for his country and profound respect for those who made great sacrifices to attain freedom. I took issue with only two points of the book’s content: Revere refers to the language of the Native Americans as “gibberish” and has one out of place joke about kissing.
As for writing style, Limbaugh makes no claims to being the next Mark Twain. His objective is to teach history. The book is fast-paced, but includes some pedantic passages that might bore more advanced readers. The 21st century middle school students seem uncharacteristically enthusiastic, but again, that may due to Limbaugh’s speaking style. Personally, I found that Liberty’s sarcastic, eye-rolling commentary more resembled the thirteen-year-olds I know. As a whole, this book could serve as an entertaining instructional tool. Hints of a sequel suggest more adventures to come.
Jennifer Minicus is a mother and teacher currently living in Ridgewood, NJ.