It's hard to picture Sam Adams, preoccupied with the business of fomenting revolution, paying too much attention to the bad, ring of his conventional cousin and dashing John Hancock who want him to learn to ride horseback like a proper patriot. But the incident is true, even if it seems gimmicky compared to Fritz's more substantial burlesque of Paul Revere's rides. And Hyman's spirited illustrations buttress this slighter story with just the right combination of historical dash and broad humor. (Adams looks authentically imposing in his shabby way, even when the horse who has bested him is grinning over his shoulder at the reader.) A brisk, knowledgeable glimpse of how Samuel Adams got "ready for history" -- aimed at kids who aren't quite ready for it themselves.