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PAUL REVERE’S RIDE by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


The Landlord’s Tale

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow & illustrated by Charles Santore

Age Range: 7 - 12

Pub Date: March 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-688-16552-4
Publisher: HarperCollins

Longfellow’s familiar verse comes to splendid life in dynamic paintings. Santore (Stowaway on Noah’s Ark, not reviewed, etc.) chooses to tell his tale as a story-within-a-story, as Longfellow did. He begins by placing Longfellow’s narrator, the landlord of the Wayside Inn, in his Windsor chair by the fireplace. All of his illustrations are full-bleed double-paged spreads, with the text in boxes. Darkling colors by firelight, candlelight, and moonlight display images of great movement and action: readers look into the belfry of the Old North Church from below the bells, they can almost hear the sound of Revere’s horse’s hooves on the cobblestones or the wooden bridge. Dramatic perspectives—above, below, beneath—create images of great force, matching the propulsive sound of the poetry. All of the figures seem to be in motion: soldiers, townspeople, and Revere himself, square-jawed and determined. “It was twelve by the village clock, / When he crossed the bridge into Medford town. / He heard the crowing of the cock, / And the barking of the farmer’s dog . . . ” Looking down on this scene from above that clock: the barking dog, men barefoot, but bearing muskets, the swirl of Revere’s cloak and the jittery shadows make a powerful picture. In all, a very different experience from the quieter drama of Monica Vachula’s Ride (above). (artist’s note) (Picture book/poetry. 7-12)