Cover image for Thomas Jefferson and the mammoth hunt
Thomas Jefferson and the mammoth hunt
1st edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, [2019]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : ‡b illustrations (some color) ; 29 cm
General Note:
"A Paula Wiseman Book."
"This rhyming non-fiction picture book tells about Thomas Jefferson's quest to find a woolly mammoth to disprove French Count Buffon's assertion that the animals of the New World are weak"-- Provided by publisher.
Added Author:
Interest age level:
Interest grade level:
K to grade 3


Material Type
Call Number
Children's Book 508.097 CLICK

On Order



In this rhyming, hilarious romp about a little-known facet of American history, Thomas Jefferson tries to disprove a French theory that those in the New World are puny and wussy by going in search of mammoth bones.

In the New World called America big changes were a'brewing.
Independence was declared with bold hurrahs and ballyhooing!

The French feel threatened by America's new freedom and confidence, as embodied by Count Buffon who claims that the "New World was a chilly, swampy place, filled with puny, scrawny creatures, every species, breed, and race." Thomas Jefferson won't stand his young country being insulted, so he sets out to prove Count Buffon wrong. He sends people across the country in search of an animal or animal bones to prove that creatures in the United States are big and strong and worthy.

Hilarious, energetic, and a delight to read aloud, this book shines a light on this little-known slice of American history. Included in the back matter are an author's note, who's who and what's what from American history, bibliography, and further reading.

Author Notes

Carrie Clickard is the master of rhyming nonfiction. She is the author of Dumpling Dreams , which School Library Journal called "a charming addition." Kirkus Reviews called it "a fascinating historical character is presented in terms easy for young children to appreciate." She is also the author of Magic for Sale , which received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews , and Thomas Jefferson and the Mammoth Hunt . She lives in Gainesville, Florida. Learn more at

Nancy Carpenter is the prolific illustrator of Apples to Oregon , which was an ALA Best Book of the Year and on numerous state awards lists, Fannie in the Kitchen , a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. Publishers Weekly called her illustrations for Queen Victoria's Bathing Machine "sublime" in a starred review. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Clickard (Dumpling Dreams) employs rhyming nonfiction to recount Thomas Jefferson's search for mammoth bones in the newly formed United States. Jefferson wants to refute French scientist Georges-Louis Leclerc, who trivializes the nascent nation: "He claimed the New World/ was a chilly, swampy place,/ filled with puny, scrawny creatures,/ every species, breed, and race." Leclerc, also known as Count Buffon, subscribes to a degeneracy theory, suggesting that European immigrants and their children settling in "an unprolific land" (the U.S.) would become degenerate. Jefferson enlists the help of Daniel Boone, Lewis and Clark, and others to search for large animals or their fossil remains, until he is finally able to send a mastodon skeleton to France. Carpenter's (Have You Heard About Lady Bird) digitally rendered illustrations are full of playful soupA§ons-Jefferson measures mouse holes and moose antlers in one series of vignettes-complementing the jaunty verse. A full-page author's note (dedicating the book to the "lost voices" of slave laborers involved in the search), further reading list, primary source quotes, and a glossary conclude this true tale. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Tricia Lawrence, Erin Murphy Literary. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.