To Dare Mighty Things

To Dare Mighty Things
written by Doreen Rappaport; illustrated by C.F. Payne
2013 (Hyperion)
Source: Orange County Public Library

“It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”

It seems a little underwhelming to call Theodore Roosevelt larger than life. His life was certainly larger than most of ours. Many authors have sought to capture his life in long and short form. So what recommends this picture book treatment of his life? Two reasons. One, it takes a pretty smart and talented author to combine text elements like Doreen Rappaport does in this book. She intertwines quotes from Roosevelt with details of his life. It’s fun as a reader to read the quote and follow up with the details. I wanted to pull out poster paper and make signs with some of these quotes.

You could take a two page spread and use it for a lesson on main idea and details. We get a nice summary of Roosevelt’s life with all of the highlights included. The sickly childhood, the charge up San Juan Hill, T.R.’s trust busting, his environmental accomplishments and his presidential work are all included. The second reason to find this book is easy to see above. C.F. Payne’s art work is terrific. There is something on each spread that immediately grabs your attention. It’s as if there is a main idea in the illustration and supporting details surrounding it.

February is a traditional time for teachers to focus on biographies. Find a copy of To Dare Mighty Things and share it with your class this month.

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