Monday, September 21, 2015

Nonfiction Monday: Let it begin here! April 19, 1775: The day the American Revolution began by Don Brown

Although I've purchased most, if not all, of Don Brown's easy historical nonfiction, I've never actually read one. However, as I was choosing books for the kids at my book club to choose from last spring, I thought the I Survived fans might enjoy this author so I borrowed one to read, so I could better booktalk it.

It starts with a simple explanation of the events leading up to the first, bloody battle at Lexington. The story continues through the events and personalities until the battle and its aftermath are over. The book finishes with a recap of what happened to the main players and a brief bibliography.

The book is formatted like a small picture book, about 9 x 7 inches. It's small enough not to be daunting, but doesn't look so much like a picture book that it will turn off kids who don't want to read "baby books". The story is illustrated throughout with Brown's watercolors, which are at turns sad, bloody, and occasionally humorous.

This is narrative nonfiction at its best. The story of the battle reads smoothly, including key events, dates, and people in a natural way within the flow of the story. Although the book doesn't shy away from the grim realities of war, the watercolors soften the blood and gore and it's not excessively graphic. Sensitive children may want to avoid this, but it's not inappropriate for the average 2nd to 3rd grade reader.

Verdict: This series definitely deserves the many positive reviews it has received and makes a great recommendation for younger readers interested in history. Recommended.

ISBN: 9781596432215; Published 2008 by Roaring Brook; Borrowed from the library

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