Sisters of Scituate Light

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Krensky (Hanukkah at Valley Forge) takes an episode from the War of 1812-two sisters outwit the mariners of a British warship by pretending that their fife and drum rendition of "Yankee Doodle" heralds an entire regiment-but his mannered retelling masks much of its drama. Conveying the background information (the purpose of lighthouses, the duties of lighthouse keepers, the story of the first raid on Scituate, etc.), the narration moves slowly, and then includes unnecessarily theatrical language ("Confound these Americans!"). Dialogue is taken from interviews the heroines gave, doing little to ease the stilted tone. Schuett's (America Is...) glowing illustrations use light convincingly throughout, and she wisely shifts the girls from their real ages of 17 and 21 to the ages of the target audience. However, her portrayal of the mariners amplifies their villainy to almost ludicrous proportions. "The British mariners smiled grimly," says the text, but the three sailors approaching the shore look like caricatures of Snidely Whiplash. Ages 6-up. (May)

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School Library Journal

K-Gr 4- The detail and rich colors of Schuett's paintings lend an appropriately realistic tone to this tale of two girls, a lighthouse keeper's daughters, who outwit British sailors during the War of 1812. Although fictionalized, Krensky's account is based on Rebecca and Abigail Bates, teenage sisters who later attained local fame for their successful ploy. Alone at the Scituate light, they are able to convince an approaching enemy vessel that there is danger on shore by suggesting the presence of marching soldiers. By hiding in the woods and playing "Yankee Doodle" on their fife and drum, they trick the British into retreating. With its wartime background, brisk plot, and crisp sentences, this original and suspenseful hero tale will engage independent readers and also captivate the storytime crowd. Use it with Emily Arnold McCully's The Battle for St. Michaels (HarperCollins, 2002) and Susan Bartoletti's The Flag Maker (Houghton, 2004) or with Peter Roop's Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie (Carolrhoda, 1985) or Deborah Hopkinson's Birdie's Lighthouse (S & S,1997).-Gloria Koster, West School, New Canaan, CT

Kirkus Reviews
When the British threaten their town during the War of 1812, two patriotic sisters outwit the marauding redcoats in this true story. In September of 1814, the British have recently invaded Washington and burned the White House. Rebecca and Abbie Bates live with their family in a house next to the Scituate Light in Scituate, Mass., where, as lighthouse keeper, their father Simeon prevents approaching ships from running aground. Only two week ago, British sailors attacked Scituate harbor, burning boats and looting supplies. When Simeon goes away on a short trip, he leaves 21-year-old Rebecca and 17-year-old Abbie behind to watch the lighthouse. While Simeon's away, the British return, eager to attack the town again, but the vigilant Bates sisters see the invading sailors and cleverly use their Yankee ingenuity to trick the British and save Scituate. Relying on a dramatic use of light and color, Schuett's illustrations intensify the suspense in this little-known historical incident with real-life heroines whose quick-witted defense of their town is sure to inspire. (historical note) (Picture book. 6-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525477921
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/15/2008
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 942,073
  • Age range: 6 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 720L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.70 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

"I did not have the kind of childhood most people would choose to write about. It was happy and uneventful, with only the occasional bump in the night to keep me on my toes. In my spare time, however, I often imagined myself in various stories — as Mighty Mouse, Robin Hood, Popeye or Superman.

"I always liked to make up stories, especially lying in bed at night before I fell asleep.

"It was not until I was twenty that I actually took up ceative writing. One of my favorite parts of the process was imagining myself in various characters' shoes, even if those characters - dragons for example - didn't wear shoes at all. A year later, in 1975, I graduated from Hamilton College and began a six-month internship at the New York Times Book Review.

"Since then I have been a full-time writer for children. I married my wife, Joan, in 1984,and we settled in my hometown of Lexington, Massachusetts, where we live with our two sons, Andrew and Peter.

"When I feel like I've spent enough time hunched over my computer, I like to play soccer and softball, and read books written by other people."

copyright © 2000 by Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved.
Stacey Schuett is the illustrator of Purple Mountain Majesties, by Barbara Younger (Dutton), in addition to many other books for young readers. She lives in Cazadero, California.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Story from my growing up in Scituate, MA

    Wonderful illustrations bring to life a story I was told when learning about local history while growing up in Scituate, MA. Bought copies for my siblings also.

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