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by Diane Stanley, illustrated by Holly Berry

Age Range: 6 - 10

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-06-027067-5
Publisher: Joanna Cotler/HarperCollins

The time-traveling twins are off on their second adventure in this sequel to Roughing It on the Oregon Trail (2000). Liz and Lenny love to visit their grandmother—and her wonderful hat. When Lenny chooses a portrait of an ancestor, Grandma digs through some clothing to find the right costumes, puts her hat on her head, and the adventure begins. Suddenly they find themselves transported to wintry Boston of 1773. As they find Ben, the boy from the portrait, they meet his family and become immersed in colonial life—eating Indian pudding, using the outhouse, and talking politics over dinner. All the while, they learn about the conflict over British taxation and ultimately they participate in throwing tea into the harbor. As they return home, Grandma reminds the twins of the date and they realize that Ben has given them much more than a memory. In a combination of formats, Stanley narrates a standard text, while comic-style bubbles show dialogue. Facts are sprinkled throughout. Although this format is by nature difficult to follow, here most of the bubbles are read top to bottom and left to right, minimizing the problem. The twins are curious and ask many of the questions children today would want answered—“Hey Grandma, what is that pot under the bed for?” Their dog provides the comic relief in the story, with dialogue bubbles all his own. Berry’s illustrations are wonderfully detailed, from the clothing and the cooking fire, to the busy street and harbor scenes. The endpapers give added information—the front is a map of the 13 colonies, the back a comparison of objects used in the 1700s and those used today for the same purposes (lighting, clothing, plumbing, etc.). This is as much about colonial days as it is about the Revolution—a great introduction, and an inspiration for further reading and research. (Picture book. 6-10)