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THE VIRGINIA GIANT by Sherry Norfolk Kirkus Star

THE VIRGINIA GIANT

by Sherry Norfolk, Bobby Norfolk, illustrated by Cait Brennan

Age Range: 11 - 13

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-62619-117-4
Publisher: The History Press

Two veteran storytellers carefully separate legend from equally astonishing fact in this rousing introduction to Peter Francisco, a genuine supersoldier of the American Revolution.

Standing 6 feet 6 inches tall and with the brawn of a trained blacksmith, Francisco, the “Colossus of the Continental Line,” fought bravely in most of the war’s major battles—riding a horse named Tarleton after the British commander from whom he stole it and, according to witnesses, sometimes casting aside his firearm to wield an outsized broadsword. Though a foundling of mysterious origin, he went on in later years to enjoy a long life as a country gentleman and prominent war hero. Along with embedding their subject’s verified exploits into vivid accounts of the fledgling Colonial army’s trials and triumphs, the authors deliver a coherent picture of the war’s general progress. They also add numerous sidebar comments on topics from women and African-Americans who fought to step-by-step instructions for rapidly loading a musket, tuck in clearly labeled tall tales, and close with generous bibliographies for both young and general audiences. Brennan’s retro illustrations depict Francisco towering over his fellow troopers (although with pink skin rather than dark, as the text states); other illustrations include reproductions of paintings and photos of artifacts.

How could such a larger-than-life figure have become so little known? He’s not likely to stay that way any longer. (glossary, timeline) (Biography. 11-13)