After a terrifically hard and terribly disappointing day before the Fourth of July, Peanut Johnson, wandering aimlessly down Main Street, stumbles upon The Capital Z, a This and That Shop. Stepping inside, he meets Mr. Aloysious Zip, the kind and eccentric shopkeeper, who introduces Peanut to a most extraordinary place. There are toys and trinkets, model cars and miniature wagon trains, even memorabilia from days gone by. Discovering the wonders of The Capital Z, Peanut finds not only anything and everything a young boy could imagine or want, but also history unfolding before his very eyes. Touching a Kentucky rifle hanging on the shop wall, he is transported to the wilderness where he sees his Great-Great-Great-Great Uncle Milkweed Johnson fighting in Andrew Jackson's regiment during the War of 1812. George Washington's sword brings Peanut onto the battlefield where the General, on horseback, dodges bullet after bullet. And while staring at a beautiful stained-glass window depicting the building of the Tower of Babel, Peanut finds himself in a crowd of angry and confused spectators, all speaking a different language! But Peanut's visit to The Capital Z turns out to be much more than a journey through history. As he peers into the past with his Uncle Milkweed and some of America's greatest leaders, he finds courage and hope to face his own mistakes, taking his first steps from boyhood to those of a young man.
My take on this book:
What an interesting book! I always enjoy stepping back in time when I read a story and Mr. Zip and The Capital Z made me feel like I had. It's truly one of those books that allows the reader to learn history as they are pulled into the story. Vivid imagery allowed me to feel like I was actually looking through the eyes of Peanut Johnson a young boy who isn't having such a good day after getting into trouble and missing the festivities of the day. As he wanders through the small town he comes to a shop called the Capital Z run by a man named Mr. Zip. When Peanut steps inside the store he has no idea how much better his day is about to become! This book sort of felt like a coming of age story with a twist! The illustrations that are peppered through the story really were fantastically paired with the story. Each chapter ends with a Did You Know page that adds a bit of historical information about the chapter, this feature along with the footnotes provide additional historical tidbits that are great! Great for young readers but I think anyone would enjoy reading this fast paced book that provides adventure while being entertaining as well as educational.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.