School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 3-5Well-written historical fiction, inspired by an actual event. Abigail and Rebecca Bates, daughters of the lighthouse keeper on Cedar Point near Scituate, MA, outwit British sailors who come ashore stealthily, take their father hostage, and make plans to burn the town. Minahan's readable prose creates a strong sense of place: "Gulls cawed in the darkening sky. Waves crashed and, hissing on pebbles, withdrew back into the sea. The lighthouse stood at the end of a finger of land called Cedar Point, so Rebecca saw nothing but the great darkness of the Atlantic Ocean." In addition, he skillfully weaves details about the War of 1812 into the story and adds an interesting afterword with more information. Quackenbush's full-page black-and-white sketches introducing each short chapter will help pull young readers into the story. A fine read-aloud selection for classrooms and for families.Lee Bock, Brown County Public Libraries, Green Bay, WI
Kay WeismanDuring the War of 1812, Rebecca Bates and her younger sister, Abigail, live with their parents next to Massachusetts' Scituate Lighthouse, where Mr. Bates is the light keeper. One evening a shipload of British soldiers lands, kidnapping Mr. Bates and vowing to destroy any supplies that may be useful to the American navy. The ship's captain has seen dust clouds along the roads, indicating that the American soldiers have left the area. Anxious to save their father and the town, Rebecca and Abigail strike up a military march with their fife and drum, frightening the British and causing them to release Mr. Bates and flee. Based on a true incident, Minahan's short novel features large text, simple sentences, and short chapters that will appeal to beginning chapter book readers. Robert Quackenbush's characteristic black line sketches serve to break up the text and offer many period details. A good choice as a read-aloud, this will also be useful for reluctant readers in classes studying history through novels.
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