Children's LiteratureAs a Maryland resident, I do know about Francis Scott Key and how he came to write the Star-Spangled Banner, yet many young readers may not know the story. In clear, straightforward prose, Welch explains a bit of the story leading up to the American Revolution and why Key ended up on a British ship in the Baltimore harbor where he witnessed the attack on Fort McHenry. As a patriotic American, he worried about the fate of those in the fort, surrounding town, and the fledgling country. He started writing a poem ("The Defense of Fort McHenry") on a piece of paper and it was with great relief in the early morning that he saw the American flag still flying over the fort. He then wrote another stanza of his poem. Later, when he reached home, he finished the poem and it was printed and widely distributed. It waxed and waned in popularity until it became a traditional song for Fourth of July celebrations, opening baseball games and the like. Finally, in 1931, it became our national anthem. The entire poem is printed at the end of the book and there is a picture of the flag that flew over the fort that currently resides in the Smithsonian. It is well done, nicely complemented with watercolor illustrations, and a useful book for a social studies or history curriculum. Part of the "On My Own History" series. 2004, Lerner, and Ages 7 to 10.
Marilyn Courtot <%ISBN%>1575055902