Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Adventuring Through American History with Rush Revere {A TOS Review}

One of my favorite time periods to learn about is early American history. I was thrilled when Amelia seemed to be taking such an interest last year. She voluntarily took books out of the library to read in her free time, books about people in America's past. It is my desire, in this day and age, to make sure the children get an accurate view of our great country's beginnings. I've personally seen how public school textbooks will omit and twist even relatively recent events, and have seen how children are just not taught the truth about America's true foundations. I want to make sure the books we are reading are not only accurate, but fun as well. One of the main reasons I love our core curriculum is because we get to read a lot of living books, not dry textbooks. When I became aware of the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series from Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh I was quite intrigued. Here was a way to learn about history with some books that looked quite entertaining. Between my love for American history and time travel, and the fact that Rush Limbaugh is one of my husband's favorite radio personalities, I knew I had to beg to receive these books. Yes, we were thrilled when we discovered we were going to get to read them!

We received all five of the Adventures of Rush Revere books. We just loved the way they were wrapped with fancy ribbon tied into a bow. I have to say, getting books as a gift is a huge favorite of mine, and these were just like getting a present. But more than that, it is like saying an accurate knowledge of history is a gift we can give ourselves and our children. 

These hardcover books range from 210 to 260 pages in length. We learn about America's beginnings, from the time of the pilgrims through the fight for independence all the way to the first years of America as a free country. 

The "stars" in this book series are Rush Revere and his horse Liberty. Liberty is no ordinary horse. Through some outstanding circumstances involving a lightning storm, he gained the ability to speak and the power to travel through time. As we get further into the stories, we learn that he has other talents, such as turning "invisible" when he holds his breath, and stopping time when he keeps his eyes from blinking. This comes in quite handy at times. In fact, this ability actually saves lives more than once. 

Liberty partners up with Rush Revere, who just happens to LOVE American History and the people in it. He is a true patriot, and it is very important to him that others learn the truth about our country's history. In fact, he's like a child in a candy store when he meets up with heroes from the past. It's like he can't get enough of talking to and interacting with these people, such as William Bradford, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, Paul Revere, and George Washington.

But, it is not just Mr. Revere and Liberty who go on these adventures, though each of the first four books starts out with a scene of them in the time period that the book is going to focus on. Mr. Revere is a history teacher who is substituting at Manchester Middle School in an honors history class. There he shares videos of different events in history, but what the children don't realize at first is these videos were taken first hand by Rush Revere. He is joined on these adventures with our other main characters: Tommy, Freedom, Cam, and even obnoxious Elizabeth on occasion. 

When we first meet Tommy, he is seen as the class clown and is always acting out, especially when there is a substitute.  Rush is warned about him and his behaviors pretty much as soon as he sets foot in the classroom.  As we later learn, Tommy acts out not because he is a behavior problem, but because the typical school setting of sitting entirely still, and taking notes while the teacher drones on and on and on and on is boring to him. He also is not a fan of history, and finds it completely boring, until he joins Mr. Revere on a time travel journey. 

Freedom is a bit of a loner, picked on and made fun of by other students. Yet she is quite perceptive and can even tell where Liberty is when he is "invisible." It was this perceptiveness that gains her the favor of being able to time travel with Rush to begin with. Later, we also find out that she can communicate telepathically with Liberty, which makes her quite an important part of the team. 

Cam is introduced in the second book. He has just moved into the area, and is Tommy's neighbor. Like Tommy, he is a fan of practical jokes. His introduction to the class involves a joke involving his "fake" eye. We also discover that he is a huge fan of history, making him a perfect candidate for the time-travel team. That is, after he is finally convinced that Tommy isn't playing a prank on him.

The other student who ends up going with Rush on some of his time travel adventures is Elizabeth. She is not only stuck up, but we discover she is quite the tyrant, as she thinks she is more important than others because her father is the principal, Mr. Sherman. Mr. Revere is forced to take her through time, and has to deal with her sneaky plans of trying to change history. Fortunately, thanks to some events in the past, she lightens up a bit and is even known to be helpful. 

Let's take a closer look at each book.

Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims introduces us to Mr. Revere and Liberty, plus the students in the honors history class at Manchester Middle School. He gets the students attention by asking them to imagine that they are on a secret mission to warn the colonists that the British are coming. Several students raise their hands when he asks if anyone is up for the challenge, Tommy and Freedom included, though Rush notices that she quickly puts her hand back down. But what really gets their attention is when he introduces Liberty and they find out he can talk! Rush then makes things even more interesting by having the students watch a "movie" of him and Liberty meeting the Puritans in Holland, before they set sail to the New World. What the students are unaware of, is Mr. Revere and Liberty had gone back into time, through the time portal Liberty creates, and was actually there in Holland while they were watching. 

Tommy and Freedom find out more details, more than Mr. Revere intended for anyone to know, and thus begins their time traveling adventures to learn more about exceptional Americans. In this first book about the pilgrims, they time jump to different points to focus on specific events that were important for the Puritans or Saints (who we more commonly call Pilgrims today). Rush and Tommy get to board the Mayflower with the rest of the Puritans and Adventurers (or Strangers), exploring the ship and getting to know some of the passengers, such as William Bradford and Captain Standish.

However, they avoid the majority of the dangerous voyage by jumping ahead a couple of months to the day the Mayflower reaches America. They get to see the Mayflower Compact being signed and then head back to modern day. 

The next time they time travel, Freedom goes with them. They spend some time discovering how the Pilgrims fared during the winter, and then jump ahead to the spring of 1621 when the Pilgrims meet Samoset. They also get to meet Squanto and experience the First Thanksgiving. 

In Rush Revere and the First Patriots our time traveling friends are joined by Cam. Some time has passed and Rush was again asked to substitute teach for the honors history class. As is his style, Mr. Revere gets the students' interest with a fun activity. This time he has them go on a scavenger hunt for items that help introduce the next person they are going to be learning about. After finding swimming flippers, a old copy of Gulliver's Travels, a copy of a 1732 edition of the Pennsylvania Gazette, a piece of wood, a kite, and bifocal reading glasses, it is revealed that they will be moving ahead in history and learning about Benjamin Franklin and his role in defending the rights of the colonies. Tommy and Mr. Revere end up having to travel to London, England where Mr. Franklin goes in front of Parliament to attempt to get them to repeal the Stamp Act. 

Throughout this second book our friends come face to face with people who were important in leading the colonies toward freedom. They learn why the colonies were so upset about the different taxes that the tyrant King George continued to levy against them, and the laws that threatened their freedoms. We even come face-to-face with King George when Elizabeth blackmails Rush into taking her to the past. All of the students are treated to scenes of the beginning of the Boston Massacre as Mr. Revere narrates the story and Liberty falls asleep and starts dreaming in class. And then Rush takes Cam and Freedom to the time right after the Boston Massacre and they meet Paul Revere and Samuel Adams, and learn about the Sons of Liberty. They even get to participate in the Boston Tea Party.

In Rush Revere and the American Revolution, Mr. Revere is teaching a summer class made up of the time traveling students. It is an attempt to pull Cam out of a depression he is in due to his father being deployed in Afghanistan. He's been getting himself in trouble, and just isn't caring about anything. After a review of some of the things that were learned in their first two adventures, they time jump to Boston in 1775 so they can learn more about the ride of Paul Revere. 

The situation in the colonies is definitely more tense now that the Revolutionary War is drawing closer. Our friends actually get to take part in Paul Revere's ride, and are present for the Battle of Lexington Green, which gets Tommy injured. Mr. Revere and Liberty witness the Battle of Concord by themselves and report what they learn to the students. They also get to meet George Washington, get caught in the Battle of Bunker Hill, and get to see the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

In Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner our Time Traveling Crew goes on a regular field trip via train to Washington D.C. in order to keep Tommy's mind off the fact that his grandfather is very ill and in the hospital. Tommy has also been given the task to write down what he learns about history in a notebook his grandfather gives him. Freedom's grandfather, on the other hand, goes along and is let in on some of their secrets. Liberty gives them a "top secret" mission with objectives that help them learn about our country's different symbols and the landmarks in Washington D.C.. 

This of course necessitates a trip to Philadelphia of the past to learn more about how our founding fathers wrote the Constitution. They meet more exceptional Americans, such as James Madison and George Mason, and learn the problems with the Articles of Confederation, and how our system of government came about. They also befriend a homeschool student named Maddie and make her part of the Crew. And after attending a baseball game, they head back to the past to meet Francis Scott Key and get some insight into the meaning of our National Anthem.

The final book of the series is Rush Revere and the Presidency. In this book Cam is running for Student Body President. Mr. Revere uses this opportunity to take them back in time to meet the first three presidents and their wives and help them learn what it takes to make a great leader. They visit George Washington on Inauguration Day. And later they meet President Washington's grandchildren.

Cam learns there is more needed than just being cool to win an election. 

The children have really been enjoying these books. When we first received these books, I started out by reading them aloud to the children during our school storytime and bedtime reading times. I realized I wasn't going to be able to get through all five books in time to write this review, so I began to read them on my own, and Tabitha started reading them when I wasn't reading them. In our read aloud time, we are still in the second book. However, Tabitha has finished the second book and is part way through the third book. She is definitely enjoying being able to read them at her own pace.

Amelia, my American history loving girl, really enjoyed learning more details about such things as the Stamp Act and the Boston Tea Party. She feels that the second book, Rush Revere and the First Patriots is funnier than the first book. There is a scene in the book where they are talking with Benjamin Franklin and Tommy starts talking about Star Wars and Legos which is was quite hilarious to both her and Tabitha. Tommy does a great job comparing the British empire to the Galactic Empire in the Star Wars movies. Tabitha found it quite hilarious that Liberty wore shoes in the first book. She also had quite the chuckle when she discovered that Liberty fell in love with Paul Revere's horse.

I have to agree with the girls, these books are quite hilarious. Liberty is quite the character, always having something to say that isn't quite appropriate, but not in a bad way, which I appreciate. The conversations that he has with Rush Revere can be quite entertaining. We spend a lot of time laughing when we are reading. And this makes the learning fun, and I can definitely say that these books are educational. They are chock full of important information about our country's past.

I really appreciate the way they make the stories relevant to children living today, by adding in little tidbits from modern day to help the children make the connection. Sometimes the lessons they learn in the past help them to deal with dilemmas in present day. Such as when Cam is being bullied in book 3: Rush Revere and the American Revolution. He learns strategies to help him win a dodgeball challenge by learning different strategies from battles fought during the Revolutionary War. 

Last, but not least, I would be remiss if I failed to mention how impressed I was that God is not censored from these books. The importance of God to our founding fathers is mentioned multiple times. 

To make the learning even more fun, the website is full of fun resources. 

I have to say, I appreciate that there is a Homeschool Depot as well as an Education Depot. They offer some great study guides and worksheets. You can even find out more about Maddie, the homeschooler they met in book 4: Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner. You can write to characters, take quizzes, and even participate in challenges. Oh, and there are fun games to play. What child doesn't like to hear that a website has games?

You can find out more about Rush Revere on the website, and on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

Don't forget to click the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates had to say about the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series.

Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series {Reviews}
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1 comment:

  1. I didn't know he had this many Rush Revere books out now. After reading this, I want to start getting them for my family.


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