THE BATTLE FOR ST. MICHAELS by Emily Arnold McCully

THE BATTLE FOR ST. MICHAELS

Age Range: 6 - 9
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KIRKUS REVIEW

The War of 1812 is the period setting for this transitional chapter book from Caldecott Medalist McCully (The Orphan Singer, 2001, etc.). The story is based on a wartime incident that occurred in the Maryland coastal town of St. Michaels. McCully utilizes the facts about an invasion of British troops along with a legend of the townspeople hanging lanterns from roofs and treetops to trick the British into missing their targets. She uses several real military men as characters and invents an independent girl named Caroline and her friend Robert as her main characters. Caroline can run “faster than anyone else in town under fifteen,” putting her talent and fearless nature to good effect several times by running messages between commanders and running the flag back to town during a battle. McCully does a fine job of making the battle scene exciting without glorifying war or violence, and the devices of running messages and hanging the lanterns give Caroline and Robert a real part in the military maneuvers. McCully’s watercolor illustrations are full of interesting uniforms and period details, and she deftly handles the challenge of illustrating many scenes that occur at night. One rather jarring aspect of her art is Caroline’s unexplained short-cropped hair, which perhaps is intended to reflect her unconventional nature, but which is out of place with the time period. (author’s note) (Easy reader. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-06-028728-4
Page count: 64pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2002




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