THE LEGEND OF BLUE JACKET by Michael P. Spradlin

THE LEGEND OF BLUE JACKET

by & illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Historian and publishing-industry veteran Spradlin has tackled a contentious chunk of history and legend for his first children’s book. Blue Jacket was a war chief of the Shawnee in the late–18th century. Though there are no personal records to prove it, some historians believe that he was also Marmaduke van Swearingen, the son of Virginia farmers who was allegedly captured by the Shawnee and adopted into the tribe. Using as much evidence as he could gather, and using first-hand anecdotal reports of similar experiences, Spradlin has written a first-person, memoir-like tale of what he believes may have been the life of Blue Jacket. The text reads nicely, though it is long and unvarying, and sits heavy on the page. Himler’s accompanying impressionistic watercolors in warm hues are well-executed but have little child appeal, and do little to enliven the sedate narrative. Young fans of historical accounts of this time period may yet be drawn to this, as it is one of the only (if not the only) version available to them of Blue Jacket. It is to be hoped, then, that they will read Spradlin’s preface, which outlines the debate over this figure. For specialized collections only. (Picture book. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-688-15835-8
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2002




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