Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Rush Revere

We were in love with this review before we even received it! It seems hard to believe, but it's true. We had our first experience with the Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series a couple years ago when a friend of mine let us borrow the audio version of the books. The kids immediately fell in love--with the characters, the story line, the historical facts, the humor, everything. I mean, time-traveling with a talking horse--what's not to love! It's no secret around here that we enjoy reading and spend hours a day doing so, so to be excited about another book series may not seem like a big deal. Sometimes though, a book or set of book stands out above the others. We've decided that the Adventures of Rush Revere #1 New York Times Bestselling Book Series by Rush and Kathryn Adams Limbaugh falls into that category.

Rush Limbaugh created the Rush Revere Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional American books to make learning history fun. His wife, Kathryn (who would later join in on the writing process), encouraged him to "tell the amazing stories of our country's founding in an easy-to-understand way." So many details from our history are being left out of or changed in textbooks. This series was written to excite kids and help them to understand the importance of learning history.

You first meet Rush and his talking horse, Liberty, in Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims. The story starts with the twosome on board the Mayflower in 1620, seasick and in a storm. In the present day, Rush Revere is a substitute history teacher at a middle school. He always wears colonial clothing (much to the amusement of the students) and goes everywhere with his time-traveling, able-to-disappear, talking horse. Liberty gained his super abilities when he was struck by lightning sometime during the Revolutionary War. The phenomenon sent electrical properties through his body that changed him physically and mentally and thrust him to the future. He gained the ability to open a time portal to anywhere in American history. He met Rush and their adventures began.

Two of Rush's students, Tommy and Freedom, learned of this incredible opportunity and joined in on the travels to learn from the Pilgrims. They boarded the Mayflower, watched William Bradford propose the Mayflower Compact, experienced sorrow in Plymouth Colony, ate a meal with Somoset, were taught the best way to plant corn by Squanto, learned to sword fight with Myles Standish, and partook of the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth Plantation.

The adventure starts in 1765 in book two, Rush Revere and the First Patriots. Rush and Liberty are in Boston, Massachusetts during the riots in response to the Stamp Act. They escaped the mob and time-traveled through the swirling gold and purple hole back to present day, where Rush was substitute teaching once again. This time, new characters are introduced to the time-traveling crew. Cam is eager to learn history, while Elizabeth is intent on changing it. The group had many adventures: bringing Benjamin Franklin to present day times (and having a conversation about Star Wars), joined a meeting with British Parliament, drank tea with Patrick Henry, toured Windsor Castle, had an audience with King George III, listened to a speech by Samuel Adams, visited the site of the Boston Massacre, and was introduced to George Washington. 

The story is continued in Rush Revere and the American Revolution. The friends start in Boston in 1775 and helped Robert Newman place lanterns in the window of the Old North Church Steeple. They had a run-in with British soldiers before time-traveling home. In present day, Rush takes advantage time-traveling to teach his summer school class about the American Revolution and to help Cam through a different period of his life. The crew visited Dr. Joseph Warren's home office as he organized the Massachusetts alarm system (including the midnight ride of Paul Revere); were nearly caught by a British spy; helped Paul Revere aboard the warship Somerset; raced from village to village to warn the Patriots to prepare to fight;  met more influential men including John Hancock, William Dawes, Dr. Samuel Prescott, Samuel Adams, and Henry Knox; found themselves in the middle of the Battle of Lexington; talked strategy with George Washington; got caught in the Battle of Breed's Hill; and witnessed the signing of the Declaration of Independence. 

Washington City 1814 is where Rush Revere and the Star-Spangled Banner begins. Rush and Liberty arrive at the White House to help First Lady Dolly Madison pack valuables including a portrait of General George Washington as she flees to prevent capture by the British. They travel back to the present to learn that Tommy's grandfather is very ill. Rush and Liberty decide to take the kids and Freedom's grandfather on a field trip to Washington, D.C. to distract Tommy from his grief. They played a game that lead them all across the National City and learned history along the way. They time-traveled and ate dinner with James Madison where they discussed the Constitution, listened to a confrontational debate in Independence Hall, sat in the Assembly Hall as the delegates discussed the Articles of Confederation, listened as Francis Scott Key wrote his poem that would become the national anthem, and witnessed the American flag raised signaling that the British ship were retreating.

The middle school where Rush substitute teaches was choosing a student body president in Rush Revere and the Presidency. Cam was convinced he could win the vote on popularity and great ideas. Rush used Liberty's time-traveling ability to teach Cam what it meant to run a good campaign, gain ideas for his election, and what it meant to be a good president. They played with George Washington's grandchildren Wash and Nelly at the Cherry Street Mansion, had detailed conversations with Washington himself, met Martha Washington and Abigail Adams, enjoyed spending time with President and Mrs. Adams, discussed elections with President Jefferson, and learned and grew along the way.

The entire Adventures of Rush Revere Book Series is a joy to read. The books are filled with historical facts, but seen from a present point-of-view. The banter between Rush and Liberty keeps the story-line comical. Liberty is often making jokes or references to food. There are many other funny parts, too, that include Liberty kicking his Dutch shoes through the school window, Operation Mashed Potatoes, Liberty screaming like a girl in front of a shocked British soldier, Liberty's gum getting stuck in a British Redcoat's hair, and more.

The books are hardcover and the pages have a parchment look to them. There are a variety of pictures throughout, including paintings, photographs, charts, and cartoon characters. Since the characters are middle schoolers, the books definitely appeal to that age group, but they're enjoyed by both the younger and older crowds, as well. The website itself is filled with so many ways to further your study. There are many links for American history research, quizzes, activities, games, and even a section devoted to homeschoolers. There is also a place to apply for scholarships, purchase tea or a plush Liberty, and more.  

Here's what my kids said about the books:

"I like how they travel back through time and that Liberty is a talking horse and is so funny. 
I like that it's about actual history, too."

"It's a fun way to learn abut history-the best way, pretty much. I think Liberty is so funny!" 

"I think Liberty is funny and I like that they time-travel."

Revere's goal for his pupils is Limbaugh's goal for his readers: that we have an imagination and that we "discover history together, discover the stories of the exceptional people who made us who we are today." These books are perfect for accomplishing just that.

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If you'd like to read more reviews of this bestselling book series, please visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog. 

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