Which Way to the Revolution?: A Book about Maps

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Karen Saxe
This book tells the story of Paul Revere's famous Revolutionary War ride to warn the colonists that the British were coming. The way in which this story is told is certainly novel: on the first page we have a map of Boston and a surrounding large area-extending out to Lexington. On the second page, we have focused in on a small portion of the map around Paul Revere's home. On the following pages, we have (in sequence, from Boston to Lexington) small portions of the first map reproduced and blown-up, and we are instructed to piece them together and follow Revere's route. We use maps and landmarks (like trees and bridges) to find our way. 'Map notes" are included at the end of the text; these describe compasses, map keys, and map scales. As the title indicates, the book is as much about learning how to use maps, as it is about Paul Revere's ride. The combination is clever!
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3Barner combines a snippet of history with engaging cut-paper illustrations to create an appealing concept book. When a mouse sees the signal in the Old North Church, he exclaims, "The British are coming!" "I'll tell Paul Revere! Then I'll get the map!" The map is a colorful two-page spread that shows the route from Boston to Lexington, with landmarks such as Bunker Hill, an old oak tree, and a wooden bridge clearly marked. As Revere and the mouse travel through different areas, parts of this map are shown in detail and scenes from their journey are illustrated on the facing page. The maps also show the route already traveled and include symbol keys and directional compasses. Although hampered by big, nasty rats that turn signs, break bridges, and dig holes in the road, the patriots manage to stay on course. At the end of the book, the terms "compass rose," "map key," and "scale" are briefly explained and a note provides some background on Paul Revere. Sara Fanelli's My Map Book (HarperCollins, 1995) and Joan Sweeney's Me on the Map (Crown, 1996) humanize the mapping process and expand children's definition of maps in general. Although centered around a more traditional type of map, Which Way takes a fresh direction that youngsters will enjoy.Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
Horn Book Magazine
An introduction to map making and interpretation using a familiar historical event adds a fantastic-and appealing-element to Paul Revere's ride, with a cadre of helpful mice to help him on his mission. Their antagonists are evil, mean-spirited, long-nosed rats whose nefarious schemes are, of course, defeated. Illustrations of these battling creatures and the famous horseman are interspersed with portions of the map following Revere's route; a final map at the end depicts the entire journey. The concept is developed in a series of dramatic double-page spreads emphasizing abstract shapes and flat surfaces, and the palette is appropriately dark-this is a night journey, after all. Appended material includes brief notes on constructing maps and a summary of "The Ride." The book reiterates the popular conception of Revere's journey as a solitary one rather than as a collective effort (the view advanced by historian David Hackett Fischer), though perhaps the mice are symbolic of the many patriots who offered assistance!
Kirkus Reviews
Barner's idea is a good one: to use Paul Revere's ride to teach map skills. He uses a team of mice to illustrate how Revere got from his home in Boston to Lexington; the mice have to avoid their enemies, sinister rats who break bridges and turn signs around. However, Barner never quite explains who Revere is, nor why the ride is famous, until the author's note at the end. Rich colors, silhouette figures, and jazzy graphics draw readers in and bring some order to the confusion of the opening pages, which offer no context for the two lights at the Old North Church (the text begins on the title page) or any sort of date or historical milieu. A final section encourages children to attempt their own maps; it will be up to adults to flesh out the innovative, but bare-bones discussion. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823413522
  • Publisher: Holiday House, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/28/1998
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.31 (w) x 10.26 (h) x 0.41 (d)

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