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by Gary Chalk & illustrated by Gary Chalk

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: July 4th, 1993
ISBN: 1-56458-202-7
Publisher: DK Publishing

 The American Revolution, reenacted by mice and other animals on hobbyhorses, rather like Redwall's heroics; recounted in verse that can be sung to the mocking redcoat song the rebels defiantly adopted (``Redcoats were surprised to find/Us Yankees set on winning./At Lexington a shot rang out,/It was the war's beginning!''); and augmented with more facts and asides (``Does this mean they're going to free the slaves?'' asks a raccoon/Native American). Depicting the French as frogs is an ancient jibe that won't trouble many; Hessians as gross-looking pigs are more problematic. The point of view is insidiously British; neither side is presented as more worthy, but there's a sort of class-conscious preoccupation with dress, as if the Americans' winning depended on getting their uniforms together. (To be fair, such an idea can be derived from the original song, given in full here; and Chalk takes great care with his authentic depictions of the costumes.) Audience may also be a problem: those old enough for the history might be put off by the illustrations, even though they're lively, clever, comically expressive, and adroitly rendered. Not essential, but a curiosity that may engage some readers (and impulse buyers). (Picture book. 5-9)