A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
What's the story?
Tim's life turns upside down when his older brother, Sam, defies their father and goes off to fight in the Revolutionary War and then his father disappears. Amid the cyclone of war, Tim helps his mother run the family tavern. Full of excitement and hard truths, this is a great historical novel about the Revolution.
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."
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