A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
A historical novel based on the Revolutionary War offers a realistic look at growing up during this tumultuous time in American history.
Positive Role Models
One soldier denigrates a slave, a Native American is not allowed in a tavern because of his race. A main character defies his father.
Violence & Scariness
References to a beheading, a hanging, and shootings. A main character is shot at and catches fire. A teenage boy is taken prisoner and dies. Although he's innocent, a main character is condemned to die and is executed.
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Infrequent, mostly religiously themed profanity.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that well-written prose conveys the excitement of growing up. Violence includes the death of a teen and the execution of an innocent main character.
Is It Any Good?
The realistic action that pervades this fact-based book mesmerizes kids, who enjoy this title often required for school. Young readers get a glimpse into 18th-century America and begin to understand the realities of the Revolution. The authors -- one a well-known children's writer and the other a professor of American history -- include an afterword explaining how much of the book is true and telling readers where they can go to see the Meeker tavern, which still exists, as well as other sites in the book.
At a distance, war looks glorious to 10-year-old Tim, but as it intrudes on his own life, it forces him to grow up. Tim witnesses the capture of his father, and patriots falsely accuse his brother of stealing his own family's cattle -- and Tim can do nothing to help them. By the time he is 14 years old, he knows, as his mother says, that "war turns men into animals."
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.