Caesar Rodney's Ride: The Story of an American Patriot

Overview


On the afternoon of July 1, 1776, Caesar Rodney received a letter from a fellow Delaware delegate urging him to return to Philadelphia at once. The congress was on the verge of casting the vote for independence. Battling bad weather and physical handicaps, Caesar Rodney embarked on a journey that would change the course of history. Here is the dramatic story of that ride, set against the extraordinary events of July 1776, with the remarkable men who shaped them, including John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John ...
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Overview


On the afternoon of July 1, 1776, Caesar Rodney received a letter from a fellow Delaware delegate urging him to return to Philadelphia at once. The congress was on the verge of casting the vote for independence. Battling bad weather and physical handicaps, Caesar Rodney embarked on a journey that would change the course of history. Here is the dramatic story of that ride, set against the extraordinary events of July 1776, with the remarkable men who shaped them, including John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Dickinson, Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and Caesar Rodney. With exquisitely detailed watercolors by Gary Lippincott, Jan Cheripko presents the burning issues of that time, the men who fought for them, and the story of the great patriot whose breakneck ride for freedom served to ensure the birth of the United States.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Racing through the flashing light, resounding thunder and torrential downpour of the fierce summer storm, a lone figure on horseback speeds toward Philadelphia some eighty miles away. The long green scarf normally arranged to conceal a hideous sight is of little concern to Caesar Rodney now. He knows only that he must get to the State House in time to cast his vote for independence from Great Britain. As a delegate to the Second Continental Congress representing the new state of Delaware, his "yea" will be a deciding one. Award winning author Jan Cheripko and talented and noted illustrator Gary Lippincott bring a dangerous, yet thrilling moment in American history to life. Details of this tumultuous time are highlighted and interwoven with fascinating watercolors to mark the remarkable transition from colonial subject to American patriot. Our forefathers' actions on this day in 1776 escalate the War for Independence to a new level. Their courage exacts a heavy price over the next seven years, however, for delegates and colonists. Caesar's role in particular will cost him his life as he unselfishly chooses to place the fight for freedom ahead of his own battle with asthma and disfiguring cancer. The "hero of Delaware" is but one of the many courageous individuals to whom we owe a debt of gratitude today. This book offers an educational journey through the American Revolution that is easy to follow and visualize. It is a valuable one for any age. 2004, Boyds Mills Press, Ages 8 to 12.
—Francine Thomas
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Rodney, one of Delaware's representatives to the Second Continental Congress, who suffered from asthma and a cancer that was slowly destroying his face, made a grueling 80-mile carriage and horseback ride to cast his crucial vote for independence. Beginning with a period map of the Philadelphia area, this book discusses his torturous journey and the significance of his vote. Unfortunately, few facts about Rodney's life are presented, aside from a description of his cancerous wound and the surgery he underwent. The main text and sidebars tell about some events leading to the Revolutionary War, with an emphasis on the colonists' objections to the various taxes imposed by England. The detailed, muted-tone watercolor paintings are descriptive of the clothing and furniture of the period, but the blank stares on many of the faces are somewhat disconcerting. This title is interesting for its focus on the heroism, tenacity, and self-sacrifice of one of America's founders, but its narrow scope and lack of biographical detail limit its usefulness for reports as well as for general reading. Dennis Brindell Fradin's The Signers (Walker, 2002), which gives personal data for each Declaration signer as well as general background and salient anecdotes, is a more worthwhile purchase.-Lynda Ritterman, Atco Elementary School, Waterford, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Rodney of the Delaware Colony traveled from his home to Philadelphia, a distance of 80 miles, in the stormy July weather of 1776. It was a race so that he might arrive to vote for the Declaration. The Delaware delegates were tied, one for, one against. Members of the convention knew that the letter to King George III and to the colonists must show that all the colonies supported it or it would not demonstrate their strong determination. Cheripko, aided by Lippincott's dramatic watercolors, provides some background on Rodney and on the situations leading to the Declaration. The ride is tense throughout, with the fate of the future nation hanging on his vote. The description of his facial cancer-voting yes meant he couldn't go to England for help-adds a dimension to the man and his ride. The story concentrates on his trip, but manages to convey the drama of this pivotal moment in American history. Fascinating. (sources, suggested readings, index) (Nonfiction. 4-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590780657
  • Publisher: Highlights Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2004
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jan Cheripko is the author of the award-winning novels Imitate the Tiger and Rat, which received a Carolyn Field Honor Award, and IRA Children's Choice Award, and a New York Public Library Best Books for the Teen Age. He lives in Bethany, Pennsylvania.

Gary Lippincott has illustrated a number of books, including The Bookstore Mouse by Peggy Christian, and With Love, at Christmas by Mem Fox. He lives in Spencer, Massachusetts.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2004

    A COURAGEOUS RIDE FOR FREEDOM

    There are surely many heroes in our America's history. Caesar Rodney, though perhaps little known, is remarkable for his tenacity and courage. It was 1776. A vote was taking place in Philadelphia that would determine America's future: delegates to the Second Continental congress were soon to cast votes for or against independence. Against meant safety but continued unfair taxation imposed by King George; for meant war, long, bloody war. One delegate, Rodney, was not there. He received a letter from a friend, a fellow Delaware delegate, asking him to come to Philadelphia. That was 80 miles away. Rodney was already handicapped, battling asthma and cancer. Nonetheless he climbed into his carriage and started for Philadelphia. It was July and the heat was oppressive, especially so for Rodney who kept half of his face covered by a green scarf to mask the open surgical wound left by the removal of a cancerous portion of his face. Later in his journey, switching to horseback Rodney rode through violent weather, reaching Philadelphia on July 2. He was there to cast his vote, saying, 'As I believe the voice of my constituents and of all sensible and honest men is in favor of independence, my own judgment concurs with them. I vote for independence.' Author Cheripko has penned a moving true story of one man's valor complete with suggested readings and sources. While this is listed as a children's book, I'd certainly recommend it for older readers. In addition, it will mean more to those who have a background in American history. A lively family dinner table topic! - Gail Cooke

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