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DUEL! by Dennis Brindell Fradin Kirkus Star


Burr and Hamilton’s Deadly War of Words

by Dennis Brindell Fradin & illustrated by Larry Day

Age Range: 7 - 11

Pub Date: July 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-8027-9583-0
Publisher: Walker

Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr had much in common, yet their feud led to a duel that left one dead and the other forever discredited. Both had difficult childhoods, both fought heroically in the American Revolution and both rose to high positions in the new government. Hamilton was a signer of the Constitution and secretary of the treasury under George Washington. Burr ran for president in 1800 and tied Jefferson but had to settle for the vice presidency after the House of Representatives chose Jefferson. Fradin paces his tale deliberately, alternating his accounts of his principles’ parallel ascent to power. Young readers may have trouble following the intricacies of the history, but the drama of the duel, beautifully rendered in ink with watercolor and gouache and stretched out over several page turns, will catch their attention. Day’s illustrations, reminiscent of Robert Andrew Parker’s, perfectly capture the drama, and the spacious page design heightens the effect. A nice follow-up to the pair’s collaboration, Let It Begin Here! (2005). (bibliography, map) (Informational picture book. 7-11)