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In a departure from other Paul Revere stories, Krensky (How Santa Lost His Job, 2001, etc.) tells the tale from the perspectives of Paul Revere, British General Gage, and his commander, Lord Percy. While Revere rushes to begin his ride to warn the patriots in Concord, the British troops form lines for a review that brings an end to months of inactivity. They wanted a fight, but did not really believe the colonists would go to battle over their ideals. Under the two lights shining from the Old North Church tower, both Paul and the Redcoats made their way across the Charles River by boat. With his fast horse, Paul escaped one set of soldiers waiting on the road, and spread the word to the patriots in Lexington. Paul’s luck held even when the British soldiers captured him. They were so worried by his message that Concord had been warned that they took his horse, but set him free. The fighting at Lexington and the North Bridge are covered in two brief pages, and Revere’s life during the war in one small paragraph, but for the reader, the ride of Paul Revere, and the actions of the British soldiers on that famous night are made real. Harlin’s (Mississippi, not reviewed) watercolors marvelously illustrate colonial times, from the painstakingly detailed British uniforms and the dress of the American colonists, to the clapboard houses and the furnishings within. He uses close-ups to focus the reader’s attention and complement the words of the text. As the author describes the Regulars’ departure from the boats, the reader can see the water and mud they trudged through and easily imagine their discomfort. The front endpaper features a map showing the route of Paul Revere’s ride, and an afterword gives more background to the conflict between the colonists and England, as well as the ultimate outcome. A good introduction to the start of the Revolutionary War. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2002

ISBN: 0-688-16409-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2002

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Strong rhythms and occasional full or partial rhymes give this account of P.T. Barnum’s 1884 elephant parade across the newly opened Brooklyn Bridge an incantatory tone. Catching a whiff of public concern about the new bridge’s sturdiness, Barnum seizes the moment: “’I will stage an event / that will calm every fear, erase every worry, / about that remarkable bridge. / My display will amuse, inform / and astound some. / Or else my name isn’t Barnum!’” Using a rich palette of glowing golds and browns, Roca imbues the pachyderms with a calm solidity, sending them ambling past equally solid-looking buildings and over a truly monumental bridge—which soars over a striped Big Top tent in the final scene. A stately rendition of the episode, less exuberant, but also less fictionalized, than Phil Bildner’s Twenty-One Elephants (2004), illustrated by LeUyen Pham. (author’s note, resource list) (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-44887-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

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An empowering choice.

Shamir and Faulkner take readers on a trip through various moments in U.S. history as they explore the democratic process.

The text begins in 1884, when a young man rides for hours to deliver his local ballot box in the state of Nebraska. The book then jumps in nonlinear fashion from key moment to key moment, explaining its importance: Native Americans were granted citizenship in 1924 (their status as members of sovereign nations goes unmentioned); the emergency number 911 was created in 1968; George Washington was the only presidential candidate ever to run unopposed. The information is divided into general paragraphs that begin with a question and text boxes that supply trivia and provide additional context to the paragraphs. Children’s and teens’ roles are often cited, such as their participation in the civil rights movement and the lowering of the voting age from 21 to 18. The information ranges from national elections to local, expanding on what can be done on a national level and what can occur locally. Along the way, Faulkner includes a diverse mixture of citizens. A range of ethnic groups, minorities, and people of various body sizes and abilities are included, making the book visually welcoming to all readers. An early image depicting a blind woman with both guide dog and cane appears to be the only visual misstep. The backmatter includes a timeline and sources for additional reading.

An empowering choice. (Informational picture book. 7-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-3807-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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