The Town that Fooled the British: A War of 1812 Story

The Town that Fooled the British: A War of 1812 Story

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by Lisa Papp
     
 

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St. Michaels, Maryland, is a town of shipbuilders whose reputation for crafting powerful schooners carries far beyond the shores of young America. And once the War of 1812 starts, that's not necessarily a good thing. For the British have targeted the town as part of their campaign to defeat America in its fight to maintain its independence. And now, in August of 1813…  See more details below

Overview

St. Michaels, Maryland, is a town of shipbuilders whose reputation for crafting powerful schooners carries far beyond the shores of young America. And once the War of 1812 starts, that's not necessarily a good thing. For the British have targeted the town as part of their campaign to defeat America in its fight to maintain its independence. And now, in August of 1813 the British fleet is sailing up the Chesapeake River to St. Michaels. The town's militia is assembled but no one expects they can win the fight against the powerful British cannons. Citizens are being evacuated and the town is in turmoil. All young Henry Middle wants to do is find his father amid the chaos of the coming attack. The lanterns he carries will be of use to the militia. As Henry works to conquer his rising fear, he realizes he may hold the answer to outsmarting the British in his very hands. Lisa Papp studied at Iowa State University College of Design and at Du Cret School for the Arts. The Town that Fooled the British marks her authorial debut. Lisa illustrated the Pennsylvania number book, One for All, and collaborated with husband Rob on P is for Princess: A Royal Alphabet. Robert Papp's award-winning artwork includes hundreds of illustrations for major publishers. His first children's book, The Scarlet Stockings Spy, was named an IRA Teachers' Choice. His other books include The Last Brother and M is for Meow: A Cat Alphabet. Rob and Lisa live in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
This tale of the War of 1812 is based on an actual event in the shipbuilding town of St. Michaels, Maryland, when the British fleet sails toward it in 1813, ready to destroy it. Young Henry Middleton, a fictional character, feels helpless as the town evacuates and his father leaves with the militia. His mother prepares to take him and his sister to the basement. Realizing that his father may need lanterns, Henry volunteers to take them to him. As the British ships approach, Henry finally finds his father in the heavy mist and rain. To fool the British, Henry suggests that they hang the lanterns high in the trees and extinguish all other lights. The general agrees. The bombardment from the British ships' cannons is terrible, but in aiming at the lanterns, they overshoot the town, and it is safe. Naturalistic, almost photographic illustrations enhance the reality of the event. The cover shows Henry carrying two lanterns in a pose that clearly conveys his anxiety. In the background loom masts against a darkening sky, setting up the exciting drama. Considerable information about life in the town, objects, and clothing appears in the rich visuals of this volume in the "Tales of Young Americans" series. Notes add factual background. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Determined to destroy the shipbuilding abilities of the new United States, the British fleet is moving up the Maryland coastline, attacking seaside towns. Receiving word that St. Michaels is the next target, the local militia mobilizes, including young Henry's father. Once his mother and sister are settled and in hiding, the child convinces his mother to allow him to take lanterns to his father on the front. It is then that he comes up with the idea to hang many lanterns high in the trees. With the town enshrouded in heavy fog and rain, the canons aim for the lights and miss hitting St. Michaels's homes and businesses. The uneven text includes plenty of sound effects, but the choppy sentence structure detracts from the drama. Robert Papp uses light in the illustrations to highlight his figures and make them almost glow. The striking illumination is appropriate for a story in which the lights themselves help save the town. The artist effectively captures the urgency and determination of his characters even in the dim night scenes. Not a high priority purchase for every library, but this book will be of interest to children who live near or visit St. Michaels.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
Kirkus Reviews
The War of 1812—it's one of those topics many Americans flunk when asked to please explain what it was all about, though they just might get the year it started right. So, as the conflict's 200th anniversary bears down, readers can thank the Papps for bringing a thoroughly enjoyable fictionalization of a true incident of the war to the shelf. The story concerns the town of St. Michaels, Md., home to shipbuilders who were caught in the sights of the British military. "For weeks, the British had been snaking their way up the Chesapeake harassing villages and burning towns. And now it seemed they had chosen their next target." Young Henry Middle's father is in the militia, charged with facing the British troops. Night is falling, rain is lashing and Henry sets out to bring his father two lanterns, which sparks a brainstorm in the commander of the militia that saves the town from bombardment. The Papps have created good atmosphere: chaos and foreboding, the skies lowering, the British warships ghosting through the night. The artwork is highly heroic, the characters radiating auras as if they'd been stung by St. Elmo's fire. Readers might wish that the endnote more thoroughly explored the origins of the war. Still, this can't help but expand readers' understanding of our second war of independence.(Picture book. 6-10)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781133485438
Publisher:
Sleeping Bear Press
Publication date:
07/06/2011
Series:
Tales of Young Americans
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
791,078
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

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