DANBURY'S BURNING by Anne Grant

DANBURY'S BURNING

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Even more inept than Gail Haley's Southern version, Jack Jouette (1973), is Grant and Howell's attempt to honor a female Paul Revere. As the story goes, Sybil Ludington, the oldest of eight children and never able to get away from the others, rides one night in 1777 to warn the neighbors that the British are burning Danbury (""and suddenly she was alone, galloping away from home""). Grant peppers the ride with exclamation points, thudding heartbeats, and forced drama, surrounds Sybil on return with cheering neighbors (mustering to push the British back to the sea), and next morning has Sybil sleeping late--alone, until the seven children come pestering as usual. Though she cites other feats in an introductory note (Sybil stood guard for her colonel father and ""several times saved his life""; she developed coded spy signals and carried secret messages), Grant doesn't hint at them in the story. It's hard to understand why she chose such a pale and artificial framework for the ride--or how Howell's bland, wishy washes, favoring baby blue, pink and violet, could be expected to boost a heroine's image.

Pub Date: Dec. 13th, 1976
Publisher: Walck