Kirkus Reviews QR Code


The Revolutionary Voyage of John Quincy Adams

by Stephen Krensky & illustrated by Greg Harlin

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-525-46966-4
Publisher: Dutton

Infused with a blue glow, Harlin’s nautical paintings add an oddly spectral air to this fictionalized account of the Atlantic crossing made by John Adams and his son to France in 1778, in search of support for the beleaguered Patriot army. Seen largely through the eyes of young “Johnny,” the voyage is an exciting one, punctuated by a wild storm, a lightning strike, a suspenseful chase by British frigates, and, turnabout, the capture of a British merchant vessel. In line with the art’s remote feeling, though, his father has other views (“We see nothing but Sky, Clouds, and Sea. And then Seas, Clouds, and Sky.”) and greets with pleasure the eventual approach to France’s “Land, Cattle, Houses, &c.” Krensky draws incidents and brief passages from the elder Adams’s diary, adding invented but believable details, plus background information that underscores the mission’s importance to the American cause. Considering the recent hail of titles for younger readers that highlight George Washington’s feats, this offers a timely reminder that others played important roles in the Revolutionary War, too. (author’s note, map) (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)