J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Reviewing Let It Begin Here!

The January/February 2009 issue of The Horn Book Magazine, landing on librarians’ desks now, contains my review of Let It Begin Here!: April 19, 1775, a new history book for young readers by author-illustrator Don Brown.

I praised the book for its quick pace and lively watercolor art. Brown describes the fighting from both sides’ perspectives, and avoids some common myths and misconceptions. Unaccountably, a summary page misquotes Thomas Paine and misspells his name (not so far off as to be wrong by eighteenth-century standards, but wrong by ours). So the second printing should be even better than the first. I do wish the book had a map.

In the same issue of the magazine, Kathleen Isaacs reviews Russell Freedman’s new Washington at Valley Forge, for older grades, as “a pleasure to read.”

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