If Boston’s Buildings Could Speak by Freddie the Fish
by Lauren M. McGrath
PageTurner, Press and Media

"The Old State House was important to everyone."

In McGrath’s appealing children’s book, young readers join their newest classmate and history guide, Freddie the Fish. He attends the Boston Harbor School, where he’s “seen and heard it all.” You also meet Freddie’s friends with historical significance: Leo the Lion, Eunice the Unicorn, and Gus the Grasshopper. Freddie’s story primarily focuses on the historic Old State House and Faneuil Hall at “the heart of Boston’s Freedom Trail.” We learn about its history in addition to America’s early days and separation from Great Britain’s tyranny.

McGrath is an engaging writer who shares secret information highlighted in red and peppered throughout the text. Difficult or unfamiliar terminology is paired with the narrative, corresponding to underlined, bold words. Colorful illustrations of Freddie the Fish exploring Old Boston accompany the tour. A disabled, retired National Park Interpretive Ranger for Boston National Historical Park, the author has the professional experience and advantage to write this book that shares Boston’s history.

Though the narrative is a bit text-heavy and conveys some mature facts that may not appeal to very young readers, McGrath relies on a creative approach to teach history in a fun way. She also reveals small secrets about herself. This helps her connect with both young readers and adults. At the book’s end, McGrath invites her audience to participate further with a library hunt, quiz, and an opportunity to draw a map of Old Boston. There is also a complete vocabulary list for reference to again help with difficult or unfamiliar words. All are great tools for parents and children to interact and learn about history together. Additionally, McGrath is an accessible author, allowing readers to contact her directly via email. Parents looking for ways to teach kids history will enjoy this likable and absorbing title.

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