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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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Recommending a Tea Party Picture Book

In the latest issue of The Horn Book magazine, I review Russell Freedman and Peter Malone’s new picture book, The Boston Tea Party.

Freedman is a Newbery Medal-winning writer of nonfiction for kids, and this book is his usual well-researched and clearly written discussion of a historic event.

The most vivid, detailed descriptions of the Tea Party are the recollections of men who started talking about the once-secret event in the 1820s and ’30s. Most of those participants were, naturally, quite young back in 1773. As a result, their recollections highlight the teen-aged perspective on the event—just right for young readers. The global dimension of the tea crisis isn’t apparent here; for that, Marc Aronson’s The Real Revolution for high-schoolers and adults is very good.

A picture book has a limited number of illustrations, and two in this book are from the point of view of Royal Navy sailors on a ship in the harbor. I found that a bit disproportionate since the navy played little role in the Tea Party, and I wondered if that perspective was due to Peter Malone being a British artist.

1 comment:

Rosi said...

This is a wonderful picture book that will engender a love of history in very young readers. I'm glad to see it getting recognition.