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Children's LiteratureThis book is part of the "We the People" series and should be in every social studies classroom. The focus is on the race between Great Britain and France to see which nation would be first in building a fort on the banks of the Ohio River. Each nation wanted to build a fort where the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Ohio Rivers met in order to control the area. Santella carefully includes the "whys" for battle plans made by both countries. This race did more than decide who would build the fort. It led to the Proclamation of 1763 that made a vast area of land between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi river a Native American reserve. This, in turn, led to the unrest of the American colonists and eventually led to the American Revolution. Young readers will benefit from the excellent historic pictures, illustrations and maps accompanying the text. They will also get a sense of how quickly history could have changed if France had been the first to build the fort. All highlighted words throughout the book are in the glossary. A timeline of important dates, a list of important people, and addresses for further information are included at the end of the book. This is a wonderful series, and students as well as teachers will benefit from the information found in this book. 2004, Compass Point Books, Ages 9 to 12.
—Kathie M. Josephs