Most Wanted: The Revolutionary Partnership of John Hancock and Samuel Adams

I’m popping in with a “perfect picture book” on Saturday. I’ve found a history sister in Sarah Jane Marsh. Her energetic writing brings fascinating detail and humor to the page, bringing to life a nugget from history. And I love that she’s found a way to share historical tales in a longer form of picture book—double the typical page count.



Title: Most Wanted: The Revolutionary Partnership of John Hancock and Samuel Adams

Written by: Sarah Jane Marsh

Illustrated by: Edwin Fotheringham

Disney/Hyperion 2020 Nonfiction

Suitable for ages: 8-12

Themes/topics: American Revolution, US History, rebellion

John Hancock was rich. He owned ships and stores, warehouses and wharves, and lived in a mansion with fifty-four windows high above Boston.
He rode around town in a golden carriage pulled by four gleaming horses.
His wig—powdered.
His shirts—ruffled.
His shoe buckles—sparkling.

John Hancock and Samuel Adams were an unlikely pair of troublemakers. Hancock was young and dashing. Adams was old and stodgy. But working together, they rallied the people of Boston against the unfair policies of Great Britain and inspired American resistance. And to King George, they became a royal pain.

When the British army began marching toward Lexington and Concord, sending Hancock and Adams fleeing into the woods, the two men couldn’t help but worry–this time, had they gone too far?

Activities and Resources:
Characterization: Identify details that help you get to know the characters. Are they like anyone you know?
Compare and contrast: Use a Venn diagram to compare and contrast Hancock and Adams. Why did the new nation need different kinds of leaders?

Why I like this book:
The voice, language, and word choice—delightful. The structure is tight and the story superbly crafted. Marsh’s style is engaging, and it appears that she loves the em dash as much as I do—A LOT! I knew part of this tale since the “salmon” story had previously caught my attention, but I learned more about the two rebels. (Unlikely friendships are the best—like Ben and Noah! See…another opportunity for the amazing em dash!) Most Wanted is a terrific choice for classrooms and an avenue for kids to discover the joy of a great historical tale. This longer form of picture book is perfect for a range of readers to convey the history—and humor! And Edwin Fotheringham is one of my absolute favorite illustrators for historical books! Excellent!


Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent activities and resources.


One thought on “Most Wanted: The Revolutionary Partnership of John Hancock and Samuel Adams

  1. What a great opening. Such specific details that give setting and characterization. Also perfect pacing. And I love the set-up of pairing this odd couple and the trouble they stirred up. Great find, Beth! I’ll add it to my TBR list. Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.