Saving the Liberty Bell

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
In an easy-to-read format, this book relates how John Mickley and his son Johnny smuggled the Liberty Bell, then called "Old Independence," out of Philadelphia as the British approached in 1777. Drawing well on historical material, the story imagines that young Johnny took over the driving of the hay wagon while his father pretended to sleep to draw the attention of patrolling British soldiers away from the man and to the sleepy farmboy in his farm wagon. The next day when the axle of the wagon broke, the bell had to be quickly transferred to Frederick Leaser's wagon to get to Northampton Town (now Allentown) and the boy must have suffered deep disappointment in not being able to complete the journey. But the author has Johnny visiting the church to view the bell hidden under the floorboards and safe from the British. This is a fitting ending because, as the text states, one person couldn't do what everyone working together could do—save the bell, and by inference, free the country. It's a stirring story aptly illustrated in paintings that show the solid farm boy persevering through the night and standing proudly with his father's arm around him at the end. An afterword explains how the author used facts to bolster this part of the American Revolutionary saga. 2004, Carolrhoda Books, Ages 7 to 11.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Although classified as nonfiction, this is a work of fiction, featuring dialogue and speculative events. The dramatic narrative describes 11-year-old Johnny Mickley's wish to fight the British as he accompanies his father from their farm in Northhampton Town, PA, to sell goods in Philadelphia. On the return journey, he is thrilled to learn that Father has hidden "Old Independence," now called the Liberty Bell, in their wagon to thwart the British from seizing it and melting it down to make weapons. When they encounter British troops, Johnny takes the reins while his father feigns sleep and successfully convinces them that he is lost. Later, their wagon wheel breaks, and the bell is carried to its destination by a different farmer; in the end, Johnny's father shows him its hiding place. The afterword sorts fact from fiction and provides historical background. The easy-reader format will bring history alive for young readers, and the dramatic paintings, some full page, reflect the action and the characters' emotions.-Laura Scott, Farmington Community Library, MI Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781575056968
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/28/2005
  • Series: On My Own History Series
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 936,124
  • Age range: 6 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.20 (d)

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