Friday, April 17, 2020

Book Club: Dear Mr. Washington

A Mom's Quest to Teach Logo; Dear Mr. Washington book cover; clip art of Washington

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If you are looking for a fun book to read to your children about George Washington, the painting of his most famous portrait by Gilbert Stuart, and manners, look no further than Dear Mr. Washington written by Lynn Cullen and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter.

The story tells the fictional account of how George Washington smiled for his portrait sitting by Gilbert Stuart. Three of Stuart's children and the dog and cat act poorly while Washington visits for his painting causing great aggravation to Stuart and his wife. Washington sends a book of manners to the children. Dear Mr. Washington contains several of these rules (ten to be exact). The book that Dear Mr. Washington references is Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation, which Washington copied out himself as a boy.

Rules According to George Washington

book cover of Dear Mr. Washington; drawing of Washington; text: How did one of Washington's most famous portraits get painted?

Reviewing the rules provides a great opportunity to review rules and good manners with your own children.

1. Not showing off
2. Not running
3. Do not stuff your mouth
4. Do not chew your nails
5. Do not try to know others' business
6. Do not laugh at another's misfortune

You can read the entire book by George Washington on or purchase a copy for your family. If you want to hand a few out in your house, please find three here.

Over the years, our family has studied George Washington a number of times, created a hat fit for the General, and visited Washington Crossing State Park. If you want to learn more about George Washington, I also wrote a Blogging Through the Alphabet post.

book cover of Dear Mr. Washington


A great way to learn more about someone is to create a timeline of important events in their life. Depending upon the age of your children, they may want to include more or less details. I created a very simple template to create a timeline of the life of George Washington or even the painter, Gilbert Stuart. Click Here!

Create a Portrait 

Have your children create a portrait of a member of the family, a pet, or their favorite plush just like Gilbert Stuart created of George Washington. Perhaps they won't have as many distractions as there were in the book!

painting of George Washington from


  1. I'll have to keep this one in mind for our American history studies next year.

  2. This was one of the drawings in the Drawing American Art history class I taught at our CoOp this year!

  3. That sounds like an entertaining spin on learning more about George Washington!