Henry and the Cannons: An Extraordinary True Story of the American Revolution [NOOK Book]

Overview


Before Washington crossed the Delaware, Henry Knox crossed Massachusetts in winter?with 59 cannons in tow.

In 1775 in the dead of winter, a bookseller named Henry Knox dragged 59 cannons from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston?225 miles of lakes, forest, mountains, and few roads. It was a feat of remarkable ingenuity and determination and one of the most remarkable stories of the revolutionary war. In Henry and the Cannons the perils and ...

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Overview


Before Washington crossed the Delaware, Henry Knox crossed Massachusetts in winter—with 59 cannons in tow.

In 1775 in the dead of winter, a bookseller named Henry Knox dragged 59 cannons from Fort Ticonderoga to Boston—225 miles of lakes, forest, mountains, and few roads. It was a feat of remarkable ingenuity and determination and one of the most remarkable stories of the revolutionary war. In Henry and the Cannons the perils and adventure of his journey come to life through Don Brown's vivid and evocative artwork.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This recounting of a dramatic wartime episode revisits the era Brown spotlighted in Let It Begin Here! In the winter of 1775, the British army occupied Boston while George Washington and his troops were relegated to the surrounding hills; the general “ached for cannons. With them, he could rain cannonballs on the British soldiers’ heads and drive them from Boston.” An unlikely hero emerges: Henry Knox, a bookseller who travels 300 miles to Fort Ticonderoga to acquire 59 cannons (Knox was also the subject of Anita Silvey and Wendell Minor’s 2010 picture book Henry Knox: Bookseller, Soldier, Patriot). Incorporating several quotations from Knox himself, Brown’s immediate account explains how Knox and his stalwart volunteers overcome hurdles on lake and land—including retrieving cannons that crash through the ice—to deliver the artillery to Boston. There, the cannons send 9,000 British soldiers fleeing, leaving behind (in an ironic twist) 250 of their own cannons. Rendered in pale browns and blues, Brown’s art has a gestural quality, emphasizing atmosphere and action over detail and succinctly sketching the proceedings in a way that echoes the fluid text. Ages 5–9. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
From The New York Times online:

“Brown is a keen translator of historical fact for young readers…. [He] keeps the material at age-level by emphasizing aspects of the story that bring Knox’s adventure to life  —  the difficulty of riding 40 miles a day to the fort on horseback in the freezing rain, of picking out the best cannons, of hauling a stuck boat over a stubborn rock. Sequenced panels capture some of the action, and Brown’s words are equally vivid. ‘Muscles and breath burned,’ he writes of the volunteers who helped him, as they’re ‘pulling and tugging, lifting and yanking, hauling and lugging’ the cannons out of icy water. Brown’s watercolors, a minimally differentiated wash of blues, grays and faded brown, are done in a loose, almost sketched style, and the inked lines are fluid and dynamic.”

Kirkus, December 1, 2012 issue:

"Brown brings to life a complex undertaking." — Kirkus

The Horn Book, January/February 2013 issue:

"Stylized watercolors heighten the drama and occasional humor of Knox’s trek without turning into cartoons." — The Horn Book

School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW, January 2013 issue:

"This entertaining tale will be great to use along with studies of George Washington and the Revolutionary War." — School Library Journal, starred review

 "The picture-book format directs this at a young audience, but upper elementary history teachers should welcome this title as a springboard or supplement to a Revolutionary War unit." BCCB

Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
The year is 1775 and the American Colonists are at war with the British. It is winter and things are looking bleak for Washington's army in Boston. They badly need cannons, but the closest are miles away through the forest at Fort Ticonderoga. Henry Knox, a plump Boston bookseller, convinces Washington that he can help. After a week of very difficult horseback riding through rain and snow, Knox arrives at Fort Ticonderoga. However, his difficulties are only beginning. He chose fifty-nine cannons to take to Boston. Knox and his men encountered problems all along their journey. They had to pull the cannons from icy waters and over steep mountains. Through sheer will, after approximately fifty days Knox brought the cannons to General Washington in Boston without losing a single cannon. Three months later, Washington's army surprised the British troops by arranging the cannons overlooking Boston. Upon seeing the cannons, the British departed Boston leaving their own cannons behind. Brown's colorful illustrations greatly enhance the story particularly when the story moves across several panels. For example, to illustrate Knox's journey to Fort Ticonderoga, Brown uses three panels showing Knox riding through clouds, rain, and snow. Readers may follow Knox's journey on the map at the beginning. This amazing story of an unlikely hero will inspire young readers as well as give them a valuable lesson in American history. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
School Library Journal
Gr 1–4—As the American Revolution was getting underway, George Washington knew he needed cannons to defeat the British. Unfortunately, he was camped outside British-held Boston, and the nearest big guns were 300 miles away at Fort Ticonderoga, New York. They were thought to be impossible to retrieve, until Henry Knox agreed to try. Brown employs a light touch in telling this exciting true story. Moving 120,000 pounds of artillery in winter involved dragging the pieces, sailing, sledding, and even retrieving them from freezing water when the ice broke under their weight. Readers will be fascinated by the various methods employed to keep the cannons moving, including poles, ropes, and chains to help the sleds scale steep heights. Amazingly, Knox and his group arrived without losing a single piece of weaponry. Quotations integrated into the text are not directly attributed, but a bibliography is included. Watercolor illustrations are given weight by black outlines. A palette of blues, whites, and browns reinforces the winter tone. Full spreads interspersed with panels vary the pace and allow for certain images to be spotlighted. A nicely composed three-panel page shows the changing weather (clear to rain to snow) as Knox begins his quest. This entertaining tale will be great to use along with studies of George Washington and the Revolutionary War.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Brown brings to life a complex undertaking that had important repercussions, though his early-elementary audience may not be quite ready for it. The book's trajectory is clearly laid out: A simple map traces an almost-300-mile path through the wilderness from Fort Ticonderoga in New York to Boston. The first line draws readers firmly into the past--"It was the winter of 1775"--and defines the problem: British soldiers occupy Boston, and the Americans have no way to dislodge them. Despite the seeming impossibility of transporting heavy cannons over snowy roads, across icy lakes and through forbidding forests, young Henry Knox, a bookseller and militia member, volunteered to get the job done. As he has in other informational picture books, Brown uses a variety of page layouts, including some sequential panels, to convey the action. Cool blues and icy whites evoke the wintry landscape; figures and faces are loosely drawn but ably express emotion and determination. Likewise, the brief text employs lyrical language to both get the basic facts across and communicate the feelings and experiences of Henry and his band of hardy helpers. Children intrigued by Brown's succinct summary will want to follow up with Anita Silvey's Henry Knox: Bookseller, Solider, Patriot, illustrated by Wendell Minor (2010). Despite the book's clarity, many young listeners still may not understand the enormity of the enterprise or its importance in U.S. history (bibliography) (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466830141
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 1/22/2013
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: NOOK Kids
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,149,676
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • File size: 18 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author


Don Brown is the author and illustrator of many highly praised picture book biographies and histories for children. He lives on Long Island, New York.
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