She explores aspects of the Second Continental Congress:
“In Philadelphia, the Founding Fathers gathered to proclaim,
” ‘All men are created equal, with liberty just the same.’
” ‘This,’ they told the King, ‘we believe to be true,’
” ‘our rights come from God — they don’t come from you!’ “
Ellis, who “loved America’s story,” appears in every historical account. Sometimes, he’s dressed in traditional civilian garb. Other times, he’s wearing a wig or an American Indian headdress. Through it all, the happy elephant is learning about the birth of a new nation — and his young admirers are right there beside him.
In “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “Ellis was surprised to learn the people had no say, about the rules that governed their lives every day.” Children will witness Paul Revere’s famous ride (“The British are coming!”) and pay homage to Patrick Henry’s powerful statement (“Give me liberty or give me death!). They will learn more about John Adams’ relationship with his wife, Abigail, who “wrote many letters to her dear husband John, sharing advice and cheering him on.” They will even find out “George Washington was a King they could all get behind. But to Ellis’ surprise, the General politely declined.”
By the book’s end, the little smiling elephant is waving an American flag and beaming with pride. Her concluding couplets have a heartwarming and patriotic tone, “Ellis remembered those who had sacrificed so much to create a better life, and he was truly touched. Now Ellis understood how our independence was won. With faith, hope, and courage, a new nation had begun.”
Callista Gingrich has created one of the most impressive children’s book series in recent years. Her love for her country can be seen in every footstep Ellis takes in these three memorable volumes. As this small elephant discovers U.S. history, young children will never forget his great adventures.
Michael Taube is a contributor to The Washington Times.