Background book of the War of 1812 with more substance and story for reading level 9-11 than one can usually count on. Young Todd Bartholomew and Marcia Dene have an exciting friendship in Washington and its environs during the tense days of that brief war. There's a bit of mystery -- and a finish that verges on the rah-rah. But the factual material is accurate, the setting sympathetically conveyed. Libraries and schools will find it fills a niche often neglected. The format suggests a somewhat younger audience than the text, with its wide margins, open face type and illustrations. The spot drawings are nice -- the full pages rather static.