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 wondrous place. There are toys and trinkets, model cars and miniature wagon trains, even memorabilia from days gone by. Discovering “everything from A to Z” inside The Capital Z, Peanut also finds history unfolding before his very eyes. 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.
The introduction to this book sucked me in immediately, learning about Peanut's family and why the children were named as they were. The quirkiness drew me in.
The drawing in of history and the life lessons taught kept me there, and this is why I wish for my son to read this book. I have to admit, sometimes the characters seemed .. too good to be true.. but that's okay you know. People aspiring to do their best and children maturing to be people they aught to be.
Mr. Zip just sounds like a character I would love to meet and his store would be simply delightful. I love going into stores that have a little bit of this and that, they are fun to visit and get the imagination going. Mr. Zips store does a wee bit more than of course. :) His store draws the person into experiencing history and eyes are opened to see history in a new way.
Good book, good read. Written for upper elementary children (I'd say 8-12) but I enjoyed the book as well. It comes complete with chapter questions. Jerry Palmer added some good illustrations that go along well with the chapters.