Thursday, July 9, 2009

Teddy Roosevelt

A couple of years ago Ryan chose Theodore Roosevelt for a biography book report. We took this book on a family trip to the North Carolina mountains. Our first night there I read a chapter out loud to get him "into" it. It turned into another "whole family clamoring to hear every word" book. Thinking I would review it today I took it to a doctor's appointment this morning. I was having a little skin cancer taken off my nose (attained from all those years of enjoying the great outdoors...just like Teddy!) Anyway, the doctor scraped a little of the cancer area off and left me to skim the book while he checked the whole skin/cancer thing under a microscope. Alone in the room with Bully for You, Teddy Roosevelt!, I burst out laughing a couple of times.

Jean Fritz's description of his never ending struggle to bag his first buffalo was one account that cracked me up. After days and days (most of them rainy) of following this buffalo, crawling through a bed of cactus, missing shots, being charged, getting hit in the head with his rifle when his horse reared, being in the saddle all day with nothing for sustenance but water and one biscuit and his guide trying to convince him to give up...

"the two men lay down that night in the open, wrapped in blankets. Then, as if they hadn't had enough bad luck, it started to rain again. By morning their blankets were soaked and they were lying in four inches of water. Joe must have thought that now they would give up; surely this would be enough even for Teddy Roosevelt. But when he looked over, Teddy was grinning. 'By Godfry, but this is fun!' he said."

Another example of his idea of fun was a hiking game he played when he was living in the white house.

"These were not sedate strolls but energetic obstacle hikes through Rock Creek Park with friends, visiting diplomats, anyone who was handy. He called these hikes 'point to point' walks over courses he and his children had mapped out together. The object was to go straight from one point to another, following the leader, over or through or under all obstacles, but never around them."

Crossing Rock Creek was usually part of the game and Teddy would occasionally lie down on the sidewalk afterward to let the water run out of his shoes. Now here's a guy I would have liked to hang out with, just to soak up some of his enthusiasm for life.

He was a puny little thing as a boy. He suffered from severe asthma. He made up his mind to make his body strong and threw himself into athletic pursuits from his teens on. In fact, he threw himself into everything that interested him...which was a lot. This book will show you that there was so much more to Teddy Roosevelt than the Rough Riders, conservation and the presidency.

His life is a good lesson to children about how far you can go if you push yourself. And to have fun along the way!

This book is available on Kindle.

Ages 9-12

Activity: Test your knowledge with this Theodore Roosevelt crossword puzzle.

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